Stress is an essential part of navigating daily life. It’s what motivates you to get off your butt and work towards a goal. It’s the feeling that tells you something isn’t quite right and needs to change. And it’s essentially one of the best motivational systems our body has.
But when that stress is chronic and directly affects your quality of life, the fallout can be absolutely disastrous both physically and psychologically.
Mood disorders like depression, anxiety, or even generalized states like persistent anger or irritation can all go hand-in-hand with chronic stress. On the physical side, long-term stress can lead to a suppressed immune system, digestive troubles, sleep disturbances, and reproductive problems according to the National Institute on Mental Health.
Beyond that, chronic stress has also been linked to higher instances of heart disease, elevated blood pressure, and diabetes among other diseases.
Ultimately, stress can be a killer. And one of the best ways of mitigating your stress is through exercise. According to the American Psychological Association, using exercise to help manage stress is one of the most effective methods for almost two thirds of survey respondents.
And beyond the immediate exercise benefits, physical fitness also contributes to a number of other long-term stress managing factors including improved sleep, healthy confidence, and a sunnier disposition thanks to mood-boosting chemicals in the brain.