Exercise More and Stress Less
Regular exercise is just as important for your mind as it is your body. Aerobic exercise, when you raise your heart rate for a period, can bring significant changes to your physique, your heart, your metabolism, and how you feel. A workout session has a unique ability invigorate then relax, and to offset anxiety and reduce stress. It has even been proven in major health studies such as a clinical trial done by Cambridge University in 2018 that successfully used exercise to treat depression and anxiety in patients. If a top university in the world has proven the stress and anxiety-reducing benefits from exercise, then it means those benefits are available to you too.
How can exercise fight off challenging problems such as anxiety, stress, and depression?
There are several reasons; some due to brain chemicals and others are behavior related.
According to the Cambridge study, the mental benefits of exercise are based on chemicals in the brain. Despite raising stress hormones in the short term during a workout, after exercise and over the long term, aerobic exercise reduces levels of body stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. It also triggers the production of endorphins, which are natural pain killers in the body that create positive feelings and can elevate mood. Endorphins cause the post workout feeling of relaxation and optimism and for the cumulative feel-good effects from consistently exercising.
Another factor to fighting stress and anxiety with exercise according to the study are behavioral changes. As you lose weight, get stronger, and increase energy levels, your self-confidence will improve. Your daily gym habit and renewed stamina will help you succeed in other lifestyle areas, like eating healthier.
Yet another factor in reducing stress and anxiety with exercise is a sense of removing yourself from a job and your daily chores to enjoy some “me time.” Exercising at the gym is also a social outlet; a place to build networks and make friends. While exercising, your mind is at play, you’ll be distracted from the concerns of daily life and available to think freely.
While we cover several mental health related benefits of regular exercise, it’s important to remember the physical benefits, as well. Aerobic workouts lower blood sugar and blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels. Exercise also reduces the risk of diabetes, obesity, stroke, osteoporosis, and cancers. Exercise also increases energy and slows the aging process.
Almost any type of exercise will help, and AFC Fitness makes it easy to enjoy working out. With over 70 classes and training programs per week designed to help you start fast and safe, you can begin getting the stress reducing benefits of exercise immediately. Choose from 30-, 45-, 60-, and 90-minute classes. Try working out with a personal trainer. Enjoy indoor sports at our new Sports Complex at AFC. Even a simple 20-minute session on cardio equipment like a treadmill can clear the mind and reduce stress. If cardio isn’t your thing, unwind and reduce stress in a yoga class. With so many options, there are fun and stress-reducing workouts for everyone.
We invite you to experience how exercise options at AFC Fitness are fun, stress-reducing, social and therapeutic for the mind and body. Start a free 30 day trial today at our gym location in Radnor, Bala Cynwyd (Lower Merion), and our Feasterville fitness center.