Filed under :Exercise, Health promoting

Stress… Some may feel it occasionally, while others may become chronically stressed out.

Most people turn to medications or psychological therapy when it comes to chronic stress, anxiety and depression.
Medications may be the first solution to such problems, which I am highly against for most cases. While I do believe that some counseling may be beneficial to relieve stress and it may involve a friend, a family member, or a professional.

I believe that most of stress, anxiety, and depression can be treated or at least alleviated by performing some kind of physical activity. About two decades ago, such a statement would not be well recognized by the public and most physicians, while today there is much research that supports this.
Still, today, when you go to the doctor with one of the above issues the most likely treatment would not be exercise. Not because the doctor does not believe in its powers, but because of the health system industry, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies. There is too much money involved, and exercise can be obtained practically free.

For example, take the natural evolutionary response that we have developed over millions of years which helped us survive thus far: the “fight-or-flight” response. Severe stress activates the emergency phase which mobilizes the body and the brain. The main point is to mobilize the body to relive the consequence on the response; run, jump, basically “move”. For example, when a lion attacks a zebra, the zebra will not stand in place and stress out what should it do next. The zebra responds physically by running away. While in the modern world, we do not get to run away from a stressful situation, instead we dwell on it. Imagine you are at work and your boss approaches you in regards to a mistake you have made. You may start feeling the natural stress response, but you can’t act on it. By acting on it, you could have slapped your boss and start running away. Instead, you listen, stress out and dwell on it. This response if left untreated will convert to biological stress and express its damaging effects on the body.

Therefore when we exercise in response to stress, we do what human beings have evolved to do – it’s that simple! In certain situations we may not be able to respond immediately to the stressor, as in the above work place example, however we can relieve that response by exercising afterwards. It’s a great idea to exercise after a work day.

By exercising regularly, stress will not accumulate. Additionally, exercising regularly will also resolve the chronic stress problems that so many people experience.

For sudden immediate stress or frustrations I would suggest performing outburst of physical activity, such as jumping jacks, short brisk walk, or anything else you can come up with.

Basically, my main “Rx” for stress would be physical, not verbal, or chemical (i.e. medications).
Try this next time – you will see how much this can actually help you!