No matter how much you try to avoid it, stress is a part of life. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, the way you manage it has an enormous impact on how it affects you and your health. Exercise can be a powerful part of stress relief for many people, whether you are facing occasional bouts of stress or prolonged periods of chronic stress and anxiety . Patients of all ages who visit their providers for help with stress management are likely to have exercise as part of their treatment plans, because of its powerful ability to manage stress without medication.
How does stress impact your body?
The impact of stress on the body can be far-reaching. When you suffer from chronic stress, your body is coping with an influx of the hormone adrenaline. In small doses, adrenaline can be a good thing. It spurs your body into action so that you are ready to face an acute stressor. Adrenaline is responsible for the “fight or flight” response people feel when they are facing a threat.
Adrenaline—and the responses it causes in your body—are meant to be present only until the threat has passed. When you suffer from chronic stress, adrenaline stays in the body for an extended period of time. This can lead to heart disease, weight gain, insomnia, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.
How can walking help?
Exercise has been shown to reduce stress levels and be an effective means of controlling anxiety. Walking may be the most beneficial exercise of all for people dealing with chronic stress. Research has indicated that a 10-minute walk can be as effective as a 45-minute workout in curbing anxiety.
To use walking to deal with stress, walking frequently is more important than walking far or for long. Aim to walk at least five times per week, for about 30 minutes at a time, for lasting benefits.
If you’re suffering from the effects of chronic stress, speak to a behavioral health specialist at Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center. From inpatient geriatric psych care in Las Vegas to comprehensive outpatient services, we help patients overcome a multitude of behavioral health issues . Call us today at (702) 916-5023 to get a referral to one of our providers.