Some of the best stress relief doesn’t involve relaxation. In fact, exercise can actually be the most relaxing part of your day. Here’s three reasons why exercise trumps stress:

Increased physical and mental health:

You know regular physical activity decreases the risk of obesity and obesity-related illnesses, which in turn lessens stress associated with these conditions. Exercise can also improve sleep and lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression. Clinical trials have shown that exercise can be used to treat endurance athletes with anxiety and clinical depression.

Improved mood:

Exercise increases your self-esteem and self-efficacy (your belief in your ability to succeed). An increased heart rate stimulates the release of endorphins, the feel-good chemical in the brain. Exercise has also been shown to decrease cortisol, the stress hormone.

Meditation on the go:

Holding a Yoga pose, playing a game of basketball or lifting weights requires your focus, allowing you to let go of your stress and frustrations. A walk outdoors or an elliptical session can provide clarity you can take with you through the rest of your day.

Beat stress with time outdoors

Inevitably there will be days where you just don’t feel like working out, especially if your stress is high. On those days, make yourself a deal to do 5 minutes of exercise. More often than not you will end up going for longer. And if you don’t? No harm no foul. No one regrets the workout they did.

Happy Cycling!