Exercise to Reduce Stress

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by Sandra Petersen

Perhaps you have too many projects at work and too little time to accomplish them. Maybe you are worrying over heavy financial debt. Stress seems an unavoidable part of life. The good news is that moderate regular exercise can reduce the effects of stress on the body.

How Does the Body React to Stress?

When you are faced with a stressful situation, your body reacts by producing hormones. Adrenaline and thyroxine give you energy to either run away from the stress-producing event or stay and fight. Adrenaline, or epinephrine, is produced by the adrenal glands located on top of each kidney.

Thyroxine is produced by the thyroid glands located in your throat area and increases your metabolism so you can deal with a stressful situation. Stress creates problems when it becomes chronic and causes the body to be in a continual state of emergency. Unrelieved stress can weaken the adrenal glands over time and cause other health problems like excessive weight gain and heart disease.

What are the Mental Benefits of Exercise?

The general recommendations by the American Heart Association are for everyone to fit moderate aerobic exercise into their routine for five days out of the week and for 30 minutes each of those days. Exercise sessions can be in 10 minute increments but must be strenuous enough to raise the heart rate.