Exercise for stress – revealing the essence

Physical exercise against stress

Vasilyeva L. O. Physical exercises against stress / L. O. Vasilyeva. – Text : immediate // Young scientist. – 2021. – № 20 (362). – С. 432-434. – URL: https://moluch.ru/archive/362/81116/ (date of reference: 21.09.2022).

Modern people constantly experience stress at work, at home, during their studies. This can eventually lead to diseases of the nervous system and the entire body. The functions of the digestive and cardiovascular systems can be impaired, and sleep can deteriorate. So how do you get rid of stress? In this case, physical exercise comes to the rescue, which relieves stress and helps get rid of compulsive anxiety. [1]

Keywords: stress, stress relief, exercise, stress time.

In recent decades, stress has become a topical subject of research in various fields of science: biology, medicine, psychology and sociology.

What is stress? Stress should be understood as a state of strong emotional tension of a person arising in response to certain situations. That is, stress is a certain response of the body to the result of external influences (stressors) of the environment. As a rule, stress leads to disorganization or disruption of body functions, resulting in disruption of an individual’s vital functions.

Г. G. Sellier distinguished three stages of this process:

1) the stage of anxiety;

2) stage of resistance (adaptation);

3) stage of exhaustion.

In the first stage, the organism encounters a perturbing environmental factor and tries to adapt to it. The second stage is adaptation to new conditions. But if the stressor continues to act for a long time, the depletion of hormonal resources (the third stage) and the failure of adaptation systems occur, resulting in a pathological process that may end in illness or death of the individual. According to his theory, at all stages of this process the leading role belongs to the adrenal cortex, intensively synthesizing steroid hormones – glucocorticoids, which, actually, perform the adaptive function. [2, с.6-7]

The main factors influencing the occurrence of stress are considered:

  1. Organizational factors acting within the organization, the group (poor relations with colleagues, lack of workload);
  2. Personal factors, acting under the influence of underestimation or overestimation of self-esteem, emotional instability of a person;

Stress resistance should be understood as a person’s ability to react adequately to any stressful situation and easily tolerate it without sinking into a state of stress. As a rule, stress resistance presupposes an interaction of all the components of a person’s mental activity, namely emotional, volitional, intellectual, motivational, which ensure successful achievement of the goal of activity in difficult conditions.

Why sport helps to relieve stress

In the course of evolutionary development, humans have developed certain behavioral patterns of response to stress. The physiological reaction, primarily the release of adrenaline into the bloodstream, prepares humans to flee or fight.

However, in modern, civilized living conditions, the body cannot properly use the energy released as a result of physiological changes, intended for flight or attack. This increases the degree of fatigue and wear and tear. Sport allows this energy to be used constructively and purposefully, protecting the body from exhaustion. This is why, from a physiological point of view, sport plays an important role in overcoming stress by helping to channel energy in a beneficial way and use it safely.

In addition, on a physiological level, there is:

– Endorphin production; during the experience of stress, a person’s levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, increase and there is a lack of endorphins, the hormones of joy that are produced during exercise.

– Saturation of organs and tissues with oxygen.

– Regulation of blood sugar (glucose) levels.

At the same time, on a psychological level, during stress a person may feel frustration, irritation, guilt, shame, apathy, hopelessness and loneliness. Behavior fails due to unforeseen and unusual circumstances, and the person intuitively tries to return to familiar ways of behavior.

Most often these methods are harmful and self-destructive habits-smoking, drinking alcohol, being impulsive and aggressive. A person can start overeating without feeling hungry, but just to calm down, or perform habitual actions, but inappropriate and useless in the given circumstances. Therefore, on a psychological and behavioral level, exercise is useful and can help:

– Organizing and streamlining activities, bringing actions and thoughts into order.

– Gaining a sense of control over the situation, the lack of which a person feels in times of stress.

– Improving self-esteem and self-confidence. Sports can bring joy and satisfaction from achieving even small results.

– The emergence of purpose and motivation, getting rid of hopelessness, passivity, refusal of activity.

– Distraction from negative thoughts. Physiological changes that occur during stress require time to stabilize. During this period, any moderate physical activity is useful for the psychological state of the person, as it allows to experience negative emotions without focusing on disturbing and debilitating thoughts. [3]

Stress relief exercise complexes.

There are a large number of different techniques and exercises that help relieve stress. In principle, all stress relief measures can be divided into 2 types: psychological and physical.

In combination, these exercises give real results on stress reduction. The most used ways of combating it:

  1. Laughter. Laughter and positive emotions are your weapon against stress. Use it for your own good. Watch comedies, have fun, dance and sing your favorite songs. It’s a great way to switch to a new wave of joy and happiness. Likewise, laughter has been proven by scientists to heal, to help cope with illnesses, sometimes even scientifically incurable ones. In the morning, look in the mirror and smile. Then go to your room and start laughing heartily. If your laughter is artificial, it’s okay. It helps, too. Eventually you will find it easy to laugh. During the exercise, remember funny episodes from your life and your friends’ lives.
  2. Sports. Exercise increases stress tolerance. But there is one important condition – you have to do the exercises that you like and which are not harmful to your health. It is better to exercise in the presence of other people, it is more interesting. Now the choice for physical exercise is huge. Fitness clubs allow anyone to choose activities that he likes. Also do not forget about outdoor activities. Walking at a fast pace, cycling, skiing or skating are good.
  3. Relaxation. In addition to meditation and visualization, you can do autogenic exercise. This will help you relax and release tension. Regular exercise will restore your nerve power and make you a calmer and more balanced person.
  4. Enjoyable Communication. The need for companionship should be satisfied. But you should not communicate with anyone. It is better to have one good friend, with whom it is easy and pleasant to spend time, than a lot of friends, unhappy with life. Especially good to communicate with people with whom you have common interests and who support you. If there are no such people, you can find them. For example, create something like your own support group. Find some like-minded people and meet up with them on weekends, having tea parties and talking about good positive topics, inspiring each other.
  5. Diary. Keeping a journal is a useful habit that can help you overcome stress by sharing your worries and negative thoughts with a piece of paper, as well as analyzing your problems and difficult situations and finding a way out of them.

Important rules for exercising when stressed

Thus, to cope with stress through exercise, there are several things to keep in mind:

– moderate exercise so as not to overload the body to the point of exhaustion;

– Start with a general physical warm-up of the joints to prevent damage;

– correctly assess your physical capabilities and set achievable goals, which will allow you to increase your self-esteem and get satisfaction from the result;

– to focus on the process, for example, to watch your breathing, tension and muscle work, which allows you to distract from negative thoughts and worries;

– to practice individually as well as in a group, so that you can feel support and belonging;

– exclude gambling and aggressive sports with competitive aspect. [3]

So, stress is a psycho-physiological reaction, which is an integral part of our life. It is impossible to avoid it in the conditions of our existence, and not always necessary, because stress has the ability to harden human psyche and prepare it for more difficult situations in the future. Everyone has his own concept of stress, everyone experiences this or that incident differently, therefore it is impossible to say that “this” should be avoided and “this” should be experienced.

  1. Korotayeva, M. Y. Physical training against stress / M. Y. Korotayeva. – Text: direct // alley of science. – 2018. – № 4.
  2. Shcherbatykh, Y. V. Psychology of stress and methods of correction / Y. V. Shcherbatykh. – St. Petersburg: Publishing house “Peter”, 2006. – 256 c. – Text: immediate.
  3. Sport against stress. – Text: electronic // comp-doctor.ru: [website]. – URL: http://comp-doctor.ru/stress/stress-sport.php (date of access: 13.05.2021).

Key terms (automatically generated) : stress, stress relief, stress time, exercise, thought, body, self-esteem enhancement, process, sport, stages.

10 popular exercises for stress relief

There is always something going on in our lives – we are running somewhere, rushing to get work done, meeting different people. Among other things, our attention every now and then wants to take over the media, the Internet, advertising, other irritants – from the annoying fly to the neighbor with a hammer drill. We live in a constant state of stress, and for many people the state of stress becomes chronic.

But it is worth a couple of days to go out of town, as life takes on an entirely different shape. You and sleep better, and breathe easier, and do not have to run anywhere, and imaginary problems much less. Why does this happen? You reduce the effects of stress. And you don’t have to go anywhere for that – in this article we’ve collected some exercises that, without changing your environment, allow you to change your inner state.

To get the maximum benefit, use relaxation techniques with other techniques such as proactive thinking, applying a sense of humor, time management skills and physical exercise.

Autogenic Relaxation.

The word “autogenic” means that the power comes from within, that is, it is some form of self-induced relaxation. With this technique, you use both visual images and body awareness and sensation to reduce stress.

The technique was invented and popularized by German psychiatrist Johann Schultz. He identified six key exercises:

  • Muscle relaxation, which is made possible by repeating phrases such as “My right arm is getting heavy.” Similarly, one can “address” the other extremities of one’s body.
  • Passive concentration, in which one focuses on the feeling of warmth, is expressed by the phrase “My hand is getting warm.
  • Initiation of cardiac activity: “My heart is calm.
  • Passive concentration on breathing by repeating the phrase “I’m breathing calm.”
  • Focusing on warmth in the abdominal area: “My solar plexus carries heat.”
  • Passive concentration on coolness emanating from the cranial region: “My forehead is cool.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

With this relaxation technique, you focus on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group. The technique helps you literally see the difference between tension and relaxation, which is good for your mood in part because it brings us back to the present moment in time.

The essence of the exercise is to consecutively tense and relax the following parts of your body for 10-20 seconds: shoulders, stomach, legs, arms, forehead, eyes (clasping), neck.

With the help of this technique muscular clamps go away and you relax the entire body.


Here you create mental images in your head to take a virtual trip to a peaceful place.

To relax, engage as many of your senses as possible. For example, if you imagine yourself on the ocean, focus on sounds, smells, and even bodily and gustatory sensations.

You can close your eyes, sit in a quiet place, loosen tight clothing, and focus on your breathing. Strive to focus on the present moment and think of the good things.

Diaphragmatic Breathing.

You breathe in and out several tens of thousands of times every day, but you’d be surprised to learn that you often do it wrong.

If you’ve ever watched a baby or pet sleep, you’ve probably seen that their belly rises much higher than their chest during breathing.

Children naturally breathe with their stomachs until the constant stress of modern life retrains them to do it with their chests.

Diaphragmatic breathing is also called abdominal or abdominal breathing, which is exactly the natural, natural process. When you are stressed, your chest tightens and your breathing becomes shallow and rapid. It’s called chest breathing. It’s a good indicator that you need to consciously change the situation.

Breathing with your chest causes a full alert state reaction: your heart rate and blood pressure go up, blood is directed toward your brain and muscles, and stress hormones are released. That’s all well and good if you’re physically threatened by something, but when it comes to, say, a public speaking engagement, such a reaction doesn’t make any sense.

  • Sit or lie down comfortably.
  • Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest.
  • Slowly exhale through your mouth.
  • Then slowly breathe in through your nose, concentrating on getting your belly up above your chest.


Meditation keeps you in the present without getting emotionally involved in worrying about the future or thinking about the past.

There are many ways to meditate. From the simple: you can try something called coffee meditation. Or find phone apps or YouTube videos and just follow the instructions.

Yes, any physical exercise will reduce stress, but yoga trumps any of them. It slows breathing and heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and helps reduce cortisol in the body.

Yoga for breathing.

One method of therapeutic breathing is Sudarshan Kriya Yoga. The breathing exercises in this type of yoga have been extensively studied and have been shown to be helpful in relieving stress, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, substance abuse, insomnia and mental illness.

  1. Close one nostril with your thumb.
  2. Slowly inhale through the other nostril for 5 seconds.
  3. Now clasp the other nostril, letting go of the first nostril, and slowly exhale.
  4. Repeat the process, starting with the other nostril.

Emotional Freedom Technique

The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping, is a form of acupressure that stimulates “energy meridian points” with your fingertips. It is referred to as “acupuncture without needles.

It is said that it can be used for states of anxiety and worry, phobias, intrusive thoughts, insomnia, as well as for the elimination of negative emotions. The technique has many followers and just as many critics. Its postulates are not confirmed by science, but it is possible to try it as a technique for relaxation.


This is a kind of alternative medicine that uses the impact on the body of volatile aromatic substances that are derived from plants.

If we talk about a particular fragrance, you can hardly go wrong if you choose lavender. It is the most studied and most versatile of all essential oils and relieves stress, anxiety, relaxation and mood stabilization.

Getting Outdoors

Still, if you have the opportunity to take a trip outdoors, be sure to do so. It will lower your cortisol levels, blood pressure and heart rate while increasing your heart rate variability.

You don’t have to go to India or Nepal, just visit the nearest park or forest.

We wish you good luck!

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