We’ve all experienced those days when stress rears its ugly head. One stressful event can set the tone for the entire day, perhaps the rest of the week. The harder you try to ignore it and keep powering through, the worse the negative thoughts, feelings, and fatigue get, wreaking havoc on your nutrition and overall health. The good news is that physical activity can immediately shake off the blues, freeing up mental space and energy to tackle your to-dos and even have some fun while you’re at it.
Here are three reasons why exercise should be one of the primary tools in your stress toolbox:
1. Exercise enhances your coping self-efficacy
Stress is what we feel when we believe we’re not in control or that we can’t cope with a certain situation. Exercise helps because it gives us a quick boost of confidence to successfully meet the challenges at hand.1 It provides the perfect opportunity to immediately master something meaningful–be it a 30 minute walk outside with a friend, discovering handstand in yoga, performing a quick set of pull ups, etc. In turn, these feelings of mastery help us to feel in control of the rest of our day.
Click here to learn the next two ways exercise can help you cope with stress.