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Exercise and Stress

| Date Posted: 4/15/2015


Jonathan Pope

Did you know? April is Stress Awareness Month.


While there are many different techniques, supplements, foods and activities that help reduce stress, research supports that exercise is the best source of stress reduction.


In previous articles, I’ve touched on the many different aspects of exercise. In the case of stress reduction, all of them apply. The quote, “A little something is better than a lot of nothing”, comes to mind.


Virtually any form of exercise will help reduce stress. Here are a few reasons to consider exercise as an option:


Reduces Stress Hormones

Exercise can increase endorphins, your body’s “feel good” chemicals, and give you that much needed mood boost. It also decreases the stress hormone, cortisol, which is linked to many health problems such as, impaired cognitive performance, suppressed thyroid function, and a decrease in muscle tissue and bone density.


Provides a Distraction

Daily life can sometimes become stressful. Work, kids, bills, and this time of year, taxes are just a few things. Exercise can give you that much needed distraction and focus your attention on the activity at hand. It typically involves a change of scenery as well, either hiking, walking the neighborhood, a visit to a park, or heading to the gym, are all low-stress places.


Increased Health

Improving your overall health with exercise can save you a great deal of stress. In the short run, it can strengthen your immunity to colds, the flu, and other minor illnesses. In the long run, it can help you stay healthier longer and enjoy life more because of it.


Social Support

You can enjoy a double dose of stress relief by combining the benefits of exercise and fun with friends.


Research suggests that exercise can build a resilience to stress. In addition to all the other benefits, exercise may supply some immunity toward future stress while helping cope with current stress. If that’s not a reason to get moving, I don’t know what is!



Jonathan Pope is the facility manager of FirstHealth Fitness in Rockingham. For information on fitness, nutrition and other services provided at FirstHealth Fitness- Richmond, call (910) 410-0123 or visit


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