Can Physical Exercise Reduce Stress Levels


Everyone is always talking about how exercise and personal training benefits the body physically. Of course, it is a definite help when trying to lose weight, build muscle or strengthen the heart, but can it have an effect on your mental health as well?

For you lovely locals who believe starting a regular fitness class will only heighten your stress, well you’d be wrong!

Work out to reduce stress

Physical activity has a multitude of effects on the brain, some of which we are still researching. However, current studies clearly show that regular exercise can help lift your mood. Not just after your workout, but for the whole day. Scientists believe exercise releases endorphins into our brains, chemicals which are associated with happy feelings. There are also studies showing that it alters serotonin levels in the brain, which is involved with sleep, libido and mood.

According to the Australian Psychological Society’s annual ‘Stress and wellbeing in Australia survey (2014)’, one in four of us claim to be either stressed or distressed. The causes of this range anywhere from family and relationship issues, to personal health and work-related complications.

Exercise is not an extra burden on these, but could quite possibly contribute to the cure!

In fact, a study published by the US National Library of Medicine revealed similarly great results:

“The results confirm the acute effect of exercise i.e. the reductions in anxiety and depression after single sessions of exercise,” the authors wrote. They recommended rhythmic, aerobic exercises at least three times a week for 15-30 minutes.

What does Australia say?

The Victoria government’s Better Health Channel (BHC) is all in favour. A study of 156 people with depression were split into three groups, one taking meds, one exercising and one doing both. After the 16-week program, 68.8 per cent of the combined group were no longer classified as depressed, while 60.4 per cent of the exercise group shared the same result.

BHC also reported on exercise’s affects on serotonin levels, stating:

“Some researchers have found that regular exercise, and the increase in physical fitness that results, alters serotonin levels in the brain and leads to improved mood and feelings of wellbeing.”

So, if you want to improve your overall mood, feel less stressed and – quite possibly – boost your sex drive (thanks, serotonin!), you should consider joining a Western Sydney gym and starting your new life today.

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