A certain amount of stress in life is inevitable.  That’s just the way it is.  But lately there seems to be more of it to go around than ever before.  People have always had to deal with money worries, relationship problems, all of life’s day to day stresses, however now as the economy and job markets are shaky, this only adds to the list.  University students are on edge with a heavy workload and the knowledge that there may not be a job waiting for them when they get out.  Working people have longer hours and less free time, partially due to the fact that we now have email, phones and text messaging right in our hands, making some of us feel that we are at the boss’s immediate and indefinite disposal almost 24 hours a day,  as we watch our personal free time get smaller and smaller.  Etc, etc etc.  Obviously, stress is not going to go away.  But there is a way to help you deal with it more effectively and more constructively.

We’ve all heard that regular exercise has many health benefits such as lowering your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes & high blood pressure. But more and more research is showing a very strong link between exercise and mental well-being.  With all the stress noted above, it’s no wonder that rates of depression and anxiety are skyrocketing.  However, regular exercise can be of great benefit.  Here’s how:

1.       Exercise releases endorphins.  Endorphins are naturally occurring “feel good” chemicals produced by the body.  These endorphins help to boost your mood and give you a feeling of well- being.


2.       Exercise improves sleep patterns.  Most adults don’t get enough quality sleep and those who exercise are more likely to fall asleep faster and stay asleep.  It’s also no secret that chronically sleep deprived people are cranky people. 


3.       Regular exercise has been shown to help alleviate anxiety and dramatically improve mild to moderate depression.


4.       Exercise also helps improve mental clarity and overall energy levels.  This will allow you to be more productive in both your professional and personal life.


5.       Exercise helps flush toxins from the body.  Through the process of sweating, you are helping to rid your body of any toxins, excess sodium, etc  while also stimulating the lymphatic system, which is a vital for internal detoxification and the proper function of the immune system.


6.       Exercise helps improve your self-esteem!  Let’s face it, when you look good, you feel good! If you can look in the mirror, or try on clothes and like what you see, that is a definite bonus.  Confidence is key to improving mental health and exercise (combined with a healthy diet) can help you achieve this!



I hope I’ve convinced you.  If life’s stresses are weighing heavily on you, consider starting an exercise program. Even if you’ve had a horrible day or you’re more stressed than usual, that is an even more compelling reason to exercise!  Even though it’s tempting on those kind of days to head to the couch after work with a giant bowl of noodles and/or doughnuts and watch TV until your misery disappears, it’s just not productive. (to either your mental health or your waistline) Getting in a good workout will help benefit you a lot more in the long run, especially if you make it a daily habit.  Pick something you enjoy, whether it be dance, cycling, running, taking a class or just getting out for a brisk walk it will help immensely. Yoga and meditation classes are also very popular and can also go a long way to help deal with stress.  Just remember to make sure you get a good balance of cardio-vascular exercise, strength training, and core or yoga classes in your exercise routines and your body and your mental health will thank you.


Produced by Kathleen and Ron Zalko