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NORTHERN OUTLOOK, JANUARY 19, 2013
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Anxiety and Stress
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For All Ages.
Exercise -- a stress reliever
Let it out: High-intensity forms of exercise such as boxing can provide an effective release for stress
and low-grade anger.
By RACHAEL RICKARD
Mountain Gym & studioFIT
Getting a regular dose of exercise is a part of
the antidote for stress, anxiety and the ''I'm
having a flat day'' feeling.
Many of us live busy lifestyles, have job
pressure, family commitments, expectations of
ourselves along with any anxiety, insecurity
These all increase our stress levels so taking
time out for yourself, getting regular exercise,
can help you to get you through and become
Many people exercise to control weight and
get in better physical condition, however what
people notice first when they exercise is how
good it makes the body feel.
This is the immediate payback from a good
sweat, accelerated heart rate, and a bit of puff.
And feeling good is a great way to balance out
stress and depression.
Here is how:
An Outlet For Frustrations: When
frustrating situations build up, you can feel
stressed or experience low-grade anger.
High-intensity forms of exercise such as
boxing, martial arts or weight training, and
aerobics can also provide an effective release
of these negative emotions, turning these
potentially unhealthy emotions into
motivation for increased health and wellbeing.
Exercise and Stress Hormones: Exercise can
decrease stress hormones such as cortisol, and
increase endorphins, your body's ''feel-good''
chemicals, giving your mood a natural boost.
(This is the chemistry behind a ''runner's
Distraction: Physical activity itself can take
your mind off your problems and either
redirect it on the activity at hand or get you
into a meditative or zen-like state. Exercise
usually involves a change of scenery as well,
either taking you to a gym, a boxing ring, a
park, a mountain, a biking trail or your local
neighbourhood, all of which can be pleasant,
Looking Good: Exercise helps you lose
weight, tone your body, and maintain a
healthy glow and a smile. You may feel a
subtle but significant boost in esteem as your
clothes fit better, and you project an aura of
increased confidence and strength. This can
help relieve stress for those who are
concerned with their appearance and worry
that they don't look as healthy as they could.
Social Support: The benefits of social
support are well documented. Because
exercise and physical activity can often involve
others, you can enjoy a double dose of stress
relief with the combined benefits of exercise
and fun with friends. Whether you're in a class
with others, working out in the gym with a
buddy, playing netball or taking a walk with a
friend, having others work out with you can
make you feel good as well as help motivate
you to push harder to get a better workout
without it feeling so hard.
Increased Health: While stress can cause
illness, illness can also cause stress. Illness can
result in physical pain, missed activities,
feelings of isolation and other costs that come
with it. Improving your overall health and
longevity with exercise can also save you a
great deal of stress in the short run (by
strengthening your immunity to colds, the flu
and other minor illnesses) and the long run (by
helping you stay healthier longer, and enjoy
life more because of it).
Resilience to Stress: Research suggests that
physical activity may be linked to lower
physiological reactivity toward stress. Simply
put, those who get more exercise may
become less affected by the stress they face.
So, in addition to all the other benefits,
exercise may supply some immunity toward
future stress as well as a way to cope with
For more information on exercise and
coping with depression, visit
depression.org.nz. If you are struggling with
high levels of anxiety, worry or fear, contact a
medical professional or counsellor.
If you are unsure about your ability to
exercise, please consult your doctor before
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