Exercise Is A Great Election Day Stress Buster

November 3, 2020 | Mental Health

Dev Mishra, M.D.

President, Sideline Sports Doc

Medical Director, Apeiron Life

Fellow, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Institute For Joint Restoration, Menlo Park, CA

 

November 3, 2020

Key Points:

  • Events today and over the next several days may prove challenging to many people, increasing daily stress and anxiety.
  • Placing blocks of movement-based exercise in your day will have many positive benefits in stress reduction.
  • Almost any type of exercise will help. The key is to just do something.

Today, national Election Day in the United States is likely to be a stressful day for many people. In fact, if projections are correct we will probably not know the final results of the Presidential election for several days. That will undoubtedly create even more stress.

This blog site focuses on health and wellness, with an emphasis on evidence directed recommendations. So here’s one bit of advice that’s backed by exceptionally strong evidence: there’s no part of your life that isn’t improved by exercise. This goes for stress around the election too.

The message today is short and simple: any type of movement-based exercise is a fantastic stress buster.

Exercise And Stress Relief

The benefits of movement-based exercise span many health domains. Some examples of direct stress reduction benefits of exercise are:

  • Improves mood and overall sense of well being. Exercise of almost any kind relieves anxiety, improves mild depression, and usually improves your feelings of control over your life circumstances.
  • Reduces negative effects of stress. Small amounts of short term stress can actually be helpful in our lives, but there’s a unique balance for all individuals. When stress gets out of control exercise can protect your body from harmful effects of stress.
  • Increases circulating endorphins. Endorphins are produced by our bodies mainly in the pituitary gland. They have powerful pain relieving effects and also work as natural feel-good substances. Long duration exercise tends to be the most effective producer of endorphins (the “runner’s high”) but any type of exercise activity will work. Group sports and fitness (much harder to do during Covid restrictions…) are also very effective endorphin releasing activities.
  • Mimics the effects of meditation. Taking a walk through a natural surrounding has been shown to be a very effective stress reducer. In several studies a nature walk produces the same effects in the brain as meditation.

If you’re feeling stressed over the next few days I’d strongly recommend that you calendar blocks of exercise time in your day. Throttle back on the social media and newsfeed consumption and ramp up your movement for good mental health.

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