Stress Awareness Month – How exercise can act as a great stress reliever

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Aside from benefiting many aspects of your physical and mental health, exercise can act as a great stress reliever. Here’s how:

It releases endorphins
Endorphins are or feel good neurotransmitters! These are released when we take part in physical activity, giving us that happy feeling. Runners often call this the ‘Runner’s High’. Any aerobic activity such as cycling or walking can give us the same feeling.

It’s mindfulness in motion
The benefits of mindfulness are well researched, but the standard practice of peacefully sitting and breathing isn’t for everyone. Instead, going to the gym, running or walking can act as a way of mindfully engaging in activity, allowing you to focus on one thing at a time.

It can be made social
Spending time with friends and family, talking about your concerns helps to put your mind at rest and reduce your anxiety. The great thing about exercise is getting others involved whilst you’re doing it. You may even be able to socialise and meet new people at some exercise classes too!

It has wide-ranging effects
Most people notice an improvement in their mood after exercise, but these effects can be cumulative. Repetitive bouts of exercise over several days act as a driver to take part in other healthy habits, such as eating well.

So how much exercise do we need?
Any amount of exercise will help lift your mood. But if you’re looking to set a goal, try taking part in either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of intense activity a week. Couple this with some strengthening exercises and you’ll hit recommended weekly amounts that have been shown to benefit most.

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