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Exercise can help reduce stress. Through regular physical activity, you can start to feel the mental and physical health benefits.
When you feel stressed, your brain releases hormones, including one called cortisol. This puts your body into survival mode where it prepares to ‘fight or flight’. This is ideal for escaping danger, but can start to take its toll when it continues for an extended period of time.
Exercise is something that puts your body under stress, causing it to release cortisol. It might seem contradictory, but if you exercise regularly it will decrease the amount of cortisol released when you feel stressed.
Through exercising, your body eventually gets used to mild levels of stress, as it learns to be more efficient with the amount of cortisol it releases.
Another positive side effect of exercise is the release of endorphins. These natural painkillers generate the feelings of positivity often associated with the ‘runner’s high’, and help combat depression.