Stress. The word itself encompasses only five letters and one syllable.
Yet its meaning can be so vast and entirely dependent on the one experiencing it. Some stress can be good stress (eustress) when it’s manageable and not recurring on a regular basis. However, negative types of stress such as distress and accumulative stress can have insurmountable negative effects on the individual dealing with it. Luckily, these types of stress can be shifted back into good stress if handled and dealt with via a healthy coping mechanism. One healthy coping mechanism for stress is aerobic or cardiovascular exercise.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, regular cardiovascular exercise can improve sleep, decrease negative feelings of self image, improve levels of anxiety and tension and improve overall stress levels.
Moreover, a systematic review and meta analysis from 2005 on the effect of acute aerobic exercise on stress related blood pressure responses revealed that an acute bout of cardiovascular activity does have a significant impact on the blood pressure results as a response to a psychosocial stressor. Though further research on the effects of cardiovascular exercise on stress is needed, the general consensus of research and healthcare recommendations would imply that a regular routine of 5 days a week of 30 minutes or more of moderate to intense aerobic exercise would support a routine of stress management.
See for yourself with these simple tips!
Take Your Workout Outdoors.
Nature is medicine. In a 2011 study researchers found that those who exercises outdoors on some degree of regularity report having greater enjoyment and fulfillment and even declare a greater commitment to repeat or continue physical activity. Additionally research supports that time outdoors can increase an individual’s happy hormones and decrease negative stress hormones. Combine outdoor time and your aerobic workout and you will have a win-win for sure!
Focus on Heart Rate Training.
Heart rate training is meant to condition the heart and cardiovascular system so that the muscle gets stronger. As a result, the heart is better conditioned and can perform exercises with greater ease so that the body is not under as much stress. Learn more here.
Choose Something Fun.
Whether you like hiking alone, swimming at home, jogging to some music, dancing in a fitness class, biking with friends or simply playing outside with the kiddos, choose a cardiovascular activity that appeals to your personality. Studies show that those who do a workout that they also consider fun are more inclined to maintain their exercise regimen long term. Plus, when you have fun stress is less!
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– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey