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Stressed? How Exercise Can Help You

Man doing exercise to release stress

Along with a healthy diet, exercise is essential to maintain good physical and emotional health.

According to research from Harvard Medical School, diets high in refined carbohydrates are harmful to the brain. And can aggravate our mood disorder symptoms. Meanwhile, physical activity helps our body to release chemicals that improve the function of the brain.

In this article, we will elaborate further on how stress and exercise are correlated and how physical activity can help improve your emotional health.

The Science Behind It: How Exercise Helps to Reduce Stress

There are three factors that influence our mood when we exercise: neuromodulators, neurotransmitters, and an increased blood supply to the brain.


When we exercise, our brains produce a neuromodulator called norepinephrine. About 50% of norepinephrine is produced in the locus coeruleus — an area in the brain that is linked to how the brain responds to stress.


Other studies show that physical activity helps to increase the production of neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine ,  which help to reduce stress, improve memory functions, and elevate your mood.

Increase Blood Supply to the Brain

When doing physical activity of moderate-intensity, the blood flow increases all over the body, including the brain. Your blood — along with oxygen — enters the brain, which then helps us to improve our cognitive performance and strengthen our ability to focus.

Since exercising could improve your focus and perception, this means that you may be able to process stressful thoughts better and eliminate them faster, rather than overthinking them.

Mental Health Benefits From Exercising Regularly

Other factors related to how exercise helps with mental health include the following:

  • During intense workouts, the body mimics a physiological response similar to the symptoms of a panic attack. Exercise allows people who struggle with panic attacks to learn how to manage these symptoms. As well as prevent them from worsening in the midst of a panic attack.
  • Exercising provides a sense of accomplishment, which could lead to engaging in more healthy habits, and hence improve your overall health and reduce stress.
  • Exercise is an opportunity to distract yourself from daily life worries. With the right mindset, exercising can be a leisure activity from which you can find joy. Introverts can use exercise as their “me” time, while extroverts can take advantage of working out routines to make more friends.
  • A regular exercise routine can help you boost your energy levels and reduce fatigue throughout your daily activities.

How Much Exercise do I need?

Before engaging in any form of physical activity and turning it into a stress relief exercise, It is crucial to find exercises specifically for your age and physical abilities.

Exercising should not have to be an overwhelming activity; nor should it be performed under circumstances where you may injure yourself.

Before engaging in an exercise routine, consider the suggested guidelines:

  • Adults should engage in either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week.
  • Older adults should exercise according to their health condition. For older adults, it is best to start slow and eventually build up.

Vigorous-intensity activities include swimming, biking, and jogging. However, low-to-moderate activities like yoga, pilates, and walking can also reduce stress and provide benefits. For an extra piece of mind, we also recommend trying breathing exercises or guided meditation.

Z.E.N. Foods offers healthy meal delivery plans to complement your exercise routine. While our menu offers a wide variety of healthy choices, you can also build a customized menu with the help of our consultants. Reach out to us. We are here to help!

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