April marks the start of Stress Awareness Month so is a good time to remember how regular exercise can have a positive impact on reducing stress levels. Being active can help burn off nervous energy. It will not make stress disappear but can make it less intense and give a sense of command over the body and life.


Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. Stress is something that we all experiences at some time in many different ways. Low level stress can be helpful and motivational however too much stress over a longer period of time may harm our health. The changes we experience may be emotional, physical or behavioural or a combination of all three. Alongside exercise and diet the key is to identify stress related problems as early as possible to minimise the risk and learn what steps we can take to reduce it.


Exercise increases your overall health and wellbeing however it also has some stress relieving benefits to ease your stress levels:

  • Helps to increase the production of more hormones (endorphins and serotonin) to neutralize the stress hormones. This can give you a relaxed feeling to lift your spirit.
  • Provides stress relief for your body while imitating effects of stress such as the flight or fight response. This can help your body and its systems practise working together through these effects. It can protect your body from the harmful negative effects of stress and is beneficial to your cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems.
  • Stimulates the flow of oxygen to your brain to blow away the cobwebs and strengthen your mental fitness.
  • Provides a distraction from everyday stress as during exercise you’re focusing on your body and its movements. After a faster pace activity you may often find you’ve forgotten any irritations.
  • Improves your mood and can also improve your sleep which is often disrupted by stress.
  • Regulates the stress levels in your body. Exercise activates your metabolism which improves stress hormone regulation making you more resistant to stress so you can cope with it in a more relaxed way.

Remember if you haven’t exercised for some time or if you have any health concerns you may want to talk to your Doctor before starting any form of exercise.