Generally, you hear all kinds of people tell you that how stress relieving exercises can help you feel better–so much so that you become aware that there is a psychological aspect to easing stress through exercise. But did you know that the greatest benefit is the physiological one?
Using Stress Relieving Exercise to Your Best Advantage
In order to understand why this happens we should understand how the body deals with stress. This will help you to be able to understand exactly what’s going on in your body to make you crave those heavy comfort foods, and why the right stress relieving exercises can help to counteract that effect.
With this information, you can plan around potential issues so that you’ll be able to stop those cravings for sugar laden sweets or fat-heavy dishes before they happen in the first place. By knowing what’s going on, you can keep yourself in the driver’s seat, not your cravings.
How Your Body Deals with Excess Stressors
This, in simple terms is as follows. When we experience a stressful event, our brains release stress hormones that signal the body to be ready for “fight or flight”. This can happen whether the stressors are positive or negative. Whether you’re dealing with a terrible boss at work or just got that promotion you’ve been hoping for. Whether you’re going through the messy end of a relationship or just starting an exciting new one.
Among the hormones that are released is one called cortisol. This one’s so heavily associated with this process that it’s actually nicknamed the “stress hormone”. While it can help the body to cope with stressors over the short term, when it’s being released regularly or constantly – due to chronic stress – the story changes. It means that we’re continually tired, craving calorie dense foods, and feeling terrible overall. It makes us more likely to overeat and less likely to be active.
Fortunately, by knowing this, we can push past that feeling and start using stress relieving exercises to put ourselves back on track. These activities can reduce the production and impact of cortisol. Though it may sound counterintuitive, these activities actually give us more energy. That’s right, we use energy, but feel more energized! This is fantastic for busting through the impact of stressors, making us feel better overall, and sweeping away that pesky cortisol impact.
Why We Turn to Comfort Foods Specifically
Comfort foods are the foods that we crave when we are under strain of any kind. There are reasons why you crave certain foods because they have particular properties in them that will trigger feel-good hormones such as serotonin, melatonin norepinephrine and dopamine. These foods are–but not limited to–chocolate, (dark chocolate, in small quantities is great for you), ice cream, fats, sugars and alcohol.
Why Stress Relieving Exercises Can Replace Comfort Foods
Because aerobic exercise and stretching such as yoga–will in fact–release the same exact aforementioned feel-good chemicals, it banishes the urge to replace the need for comfort foods. These stress relieving exercises bring along a host of other benefits as well–such as weight control, increased fat-burn, higher metabolism and the craving of healthy and high energy foods. Exercise keeps you younger and gives you energy on your worst days. Feel like you just can’t do it? Good quality fast fat burner pills can help to energize you to get up and move until you build the habit for yourself.
Which Activities Are Best?
The best stress relieving exercises are the one you’ll actually do. Look for something available to you and/or that you enjoy. If you’re not sure that you’ll enjoy something, don’t simply assume that you won’t. Give it a try and see how you feel after a minute or two. You’ll more than likely be surprised.
The following are a great place to start.
- Brisk walking
- Playing a sport
You can engage in all your favorite activities, and it won’t even feel like exercise which is the best exercise to engage in. To make it more enjoyable, get a group of friends together or join a stress relieving exercise meetup to make new ones.