Sport has long been believed to assist in reducing stress, with most explanations focusing on the release of the human body’s natural high – endorphins – during and following exercise.
Exercise is often linked to aiding depression and relieving stress; it allows you to forget about daily irritations and let loose. Not only is it good for you but it also helps banish stress hormones and helps us to cope with stress better. Working out can also help US to feel calmer and clearer and can regulate OUR appetite.
A study published this month in New Scientist emphasises the importance of exercise for good mental health, in particular in “flushing out brain sewage”.
And this science is borne out in data from YouGov Profiles, which suggests that people who’ve played sports in the last two weeks are 21% less likely than the average Brit to feel stressed.
According to a recent Guardian article, exercise is also emerging as a promising way to overcome depression. Some reports have suggested that exercise is as effective as antidepressant drugs and psychological treatments at treating depression.
Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster, cites being active and setting goals and challenges as two of the most important stress-busting tips.
“Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you deal with your problems more calmly. Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps to build confidence. This will help you deal with stress.”
With that in mind, if you’re feeling stressed, why not take the opportunity this long bank holiday weekend to take up a new activity? Here’s some food for thought from our very own Mpora: