According to the American Psychiatric Association, 63% of Americans are stressed or anxious about various aspects of their lives, including their health, family, money, relationships, and work. Unfortunately, the stress is not going away either. According to the APA, stress is rising among Americans, with more than one-third of people surveyed saying they felt more stressed this year compared to last year.
Stress and anxiety are related, and although they may have similar symptoms, it is important to understand the difference. According to the American Psychological Association, stress is an emotional reaction to a stressor, including those listed above, like your finances, relationships, and work. Reactions can include anger, difficulty sleeping, muscle pain, and more. Although we can all go through stressful periods in life, these negative feelings should end once the stressor goes away. Anxiety, on the other hand, is a feeling of prolonged or persistent worry without a present stressor.
A Proven Way to Relieve Stress and Anxiety
Both stress and anxiety can have long-term health effects, including digestive issues, depression, and insomnia. However, there is a way to combat stress and anxiety while improving your overall health and wellness. Exercise is a proven way to cope with, and potentially reduce, symptoms of stress and anxiety.
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), exercise is an accepted coping mechanism for stress and anxiety, with many mental health professionals worldwide recommending it to their patients. Exercise can provide relief to stress and anxiety similar to taking an anti-inflammatory drug to stop a headache.
Northwest Regional Health believes in the benefits of exercise to reduce anxiety in stress because our healthcare professionals have seen how it benefits our patients’ lives and health outcomes. Exercise is a great way to not only reduce stress and anxiety but to stay engaged in the community and the world around us.
Tips for Exercising
Finding a way to exercise shouldn’t add stress to your life. There are many ways to take full advantage of the benefits of exercise without additional risks to your physical health, including:
- Starting small. According to the ADAA, a brisk, 10-minute walk can have the same stress-relieving benefits as 45 minutes of strenuous exercise.
- Finding a partner. Having someone join you on a walk or for an exercise class can be a great way to strengthen your relationships and relieve stress.
- Exploring your community. Research local parks, nature paths, and other interesting sites to keep your routes interesting. This is a great way to learn and relieve stress at the same time!
- Exercise remains an effective way to temporarily relieve stress and anxiety. Northwest Regional Health offers a wellness center where patients and community members can relieve stress and foster a sense of community via exercise.