Stress

You may feel physical stress as the result of too much to do, not enough sleep, a poor diet or the effects of an illness. Stress can also be mental

However, much of our stress comes from less dramatic everyday responsibilities. Obligations and pressures which are both physical and mental are not always obvious to us. In response to these daily strains your body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and blood flow to your muscles. This response is intended to help your body react quickly and effectively to a high-pressure situation.

The Stress Response

Often referred to as the “fight-or-flight” reaction, the stress response occurs automatically when you feel threatened.  Your body’s fight-or-flight reaction has strong biological roots.  It’s there for self-preservation. This reaction gave early humans the energy to fight aggressors or run from predators and was important to help the human species survive.  But today, instead of protecting you, it may have the opposite effect.  If you are constantly stressed you may actually be more vulnerable to life-threatening health problems.

Any sort of change in life can make you feel stressed, even good change.  It’s not just the change or event itself, but also how you react to it that matters.  What may be stressful is different for each person.

Exercise

Exercise is a good way to deal with stress because it is a healthy way to relieve your pent-up energy and tension. It also helps you get in better shape, which makes you feel better overall.  By getting physically active, you can decrease your levels of anxiety and stress and elevate your moods.  Numerous studies have shown that people who begin exercise programs, either at home or at work, demonstrate a marked improvement in their ability to concentrate, are able to sleep better, suffer from fewer illnesses, suffer from less pain and report a much higher quality of life than those who do not exercise.  This is even true of people who had not begun an exercise program until they were in their 40s, 50s, 60s or even 70s.  So if you want to feel better and improve your quality of life, get active!