How physical activity can help reduce stress

Physical activities, such as jogging, workout routines, dancing, and bicycling are good for your body and for your mind. Almost any form of exercise, from low intensity activities like yoga to high intensity activities like a Tabata class can act as a stress reliever, no matter your fitness level. Here's how it works:

Physical activities that get your heart rate up release endorphins

When your heart rate is raised, your body naturally releases endorphins, which are essentially your brain's main way of making you feel good. You've probably heard of the "runner's high" and other phenomenon - that's people's brains releasing endorphins as they exercise. You don't need to be a fitness enthusiast to get this effect, though - any activity that gets your heart rate up will cause your brain to release endorphins. Simply put, any time you're earning PAI, your body will release endorphins, helping you to feel good and less stressed in the long term.

Exercise tends to focus your mind on one thing (the activity you're doing), instead of everyday stressors

As we exercise, our brain will shift more and more focus onto that particular activity. Even if it's subconscious, such as placing one foot in front of the other or taking another breath, your mind will gradually focus mostly on the activity you're doing. This is more likely the higher the intensity of the exercise, as you may need to concentrate on the specific movements you're doing.

Physical activities improve your mood

Regular exercise can increase your energy levels, overall mood, and can even lower symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, increased levels of physical activity can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress.

Long term effects

Relieving stress through physical activity is not only good in the short term, but great in the long term. By earning PAI and reducing your stress levels, you'll lower your risk of mortality from cardiovascular and other lifestyle diseases. If you earn 100 PAI or more on a regular basis, you will also slowly see your resting heart rate (RHR) get lower, thereby lowering your Fitness Age in the PAI Health app. This is an indication of your cardiorespiratory health, so if you're able to lower or maintain your Fitness Age that means you're doing a great job staying active and reaping the benefits of less stress and a healthier lifestyle.

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