Exercise Decreases Stress Levels

Stress is the feeling experienced by people when they are unable to handle the usual chores or responsibilities that were assigned. The body senses danger when a person is stressed and the body responds by increasing the breathing rate and speeding up the heartbeat.

Some studies have reported that stress can weaken the immune system and also make a person moody, tense or depressed.1Long-time stress increases the risk of blood pressure, heart diseases and stroke.

The benefit of exercises on overall health and fitness is well known. Regular exercise can help in reducing stress levels and increasing energy. With regular physical activity, the brain gives out certain chemical responses, which responsible for stress reduction. This effect is brought about by the production of certain specialized chemicals known as endorphins in our body. The endorphins are seen as natural pain relievers and help in calming the body. Further, endorphins can also make one feel relaxed and positive.2 Relaxation exercises, breathing exercises, muscle relaxation exercises, massage, aromatherapy and yoga help the body to relax and reduce stress levels as well as producing feelings of good health and fitness. Some of the other benefits of exercises include lessening the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety, and increasing self-confidence.3

Reports from multiple studies in the U.S. and Canada suggest that the symptoms of depression decrease with exercises.4 Furthermore, some studies have demonstrated that aerobic fitness is helpful in reducing the stress levels.5

An individual’s response to any type of situation is mainly based on the type of hormones and other chemicals being released in the body. Regular exercise helps in the regulation of hormones or other chemicals that are excessively produced in response to stressful situations and people are helped to remain calm and composed during stressful situations.


  1. Motzer SA, Hertig V. Stress, Stress Response and Health. Nurs Clin North America. 2004; 39: 1–17.
  2. Janisse HC, Nedd D, Escamilla S, et al. Physical Activity, Social Support, and Family Structure as Determinants of Mood Among European-American and African-American Women. Women & Health. 2004; 39(1): 101–116.
  3. Dimsdale JE, et al. Stress and Psychiatry. In: BJ Sadock, VA Sadock, (eds). Kaplan and Sadock’s Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry. 2005; 8th edn, vol. 2, pp: 2180–2195.
  4. Penedo FJ, Dahn JR. Exercise and Well-being: a Review of Mental and Physical Health Benefits Associated with Physical Activity. Current Opinion in Psychiatry. 2005; 18:189–193.
  5. Kohut, M.L., W. Lee, A. Martin, B et al. The Exercise-induced Enhancement of Influenza Immunity is Mediated in Part by Improvements in Psychosocial Factors in Older Adults. Brain Behav. Immun. 2005; 19: 357–366.

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