Obviously, don’t go and just stop taking your medication because of this article. The point I’m trying to make is that working out is a great stress reliever.
Exercise Releases Endorphins
Endorphins, short for endogenous morphine, are feel-good chemicals (opioid peptides) that your body releases in response to certain things – exercise, orgasm, pain, and love to name a few. Working out is pain, but in a good way. If you are pushing yourself hard enough, your body will release endorphins in response to stress being placed on the body.
These endorphins are a great stress reliever. If you’ve ever noticed how good you feel after a hard workout, this is what’s responsible for it. The so-called “runner’s high” that happens after strenuous exercise causes a release of endorphins to deal with the stress of going beyond your body’s physical limits. Push beyond your natural mental and physical limitations, and your body will respond by rewarding you with feelings of euphoria and happiness. With all the stresses being thrown at us in life, and the anxiety that accompanies it, exercise can help to distract us and channel that energy into something positive.
Link Between Depression and Obesity
There is a strong link between depression and obesity. What came first – the chicken or the egg? Did obesity cause depression, or did depression cause obesity? There’s evidence that both instances can occur, but I’d be willing to bet that more times than not that depression leads to putting on some pounds. People stress eat and eat to feel better because of feelings of depression. Exercise can help relieve that depression by putting you into a better state of mind and by improving your well-being. Looking and feeling good is always a good motivator to eat healthy and stay active. And people feel their best when they’re healthy.
Research has shown that exercise is linked to a higher resilience of stress. It provides your body a sort of natural armor against the negativity in the world. The Department of Psychology in Zurich reports:
Eighteen elite sportsmen, 50 amateur sportsmen, and 24 untrained men were exposed to a standardized psychosocial laboratory stressor (Trier Social Stress Test). Repeated measures of salivary free cortisol, heart rate, and psychological responses to psychosocial stress were compared among the 3 study groups. Elite sportsmen exhibited significantly lower cortisol, heart rate, and state anxiety responses compared with untrained subjects.
Exercise has too many benefits to name. But if you’re feeling a little down, give some physical activity a shot. You never know, one day you might even start saving some money from the medication you’re taking.
More money, better body, less stress, better health, more confidence – why wouldn’t you give it a try?