Active energetic happy elderly female with gray hair enjoying physical exercises indoors, training at home using dumbbells, smiling broadly

Exercise and Stress Reduction

Stress is just a natural part of life, and it’s becoming more and more common. Nearly one in five seniors suffers from mental disorders and stress is one of the most common issues affecting older adults. Stress can be very damaging though, as it’s linked to a higher rate of things like high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. The good news is, there’s something simple you can do to reduce your stress levels. Exercise and stress reduction go hand-in-hand. 

How does exercise reduce stress? 

Believe it or not, when you exercise regularly, it can actually help you to relax. Regular aerobic exercise can have a positive impact on your metabolism, your heart, and your emotional health. This is because exercise helps reduce your levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and it also helps produce endorphins. These are chemicals in your brain that act as natural painkillers and mood boosters. 

What type of exercise will work? 

Almost any kind of exercise will help your stress levels, but certain types may work better than others. Many people find that things like walking or jogging can really help to clear your mind and reduce your stress. Exercises based in meditative and mindfulness practices like yoga or tai chi can also be really beneficial, and exercising with others may be even more beneficial. 

What are other ways I can reduce my stress? 

Exercise is one of your most powerful tools to reduce stress, but it’s not your only one. Other ways you can lower your stress levels include: 

  • Avoid unhealthy habits like too much caffeine or alcohol, smoking, using illegal substances, or even eating too much. 
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation. 
  • Laugh more. 
  • Connect with others. 
  • Get enough sleep. 
  • Practice gratitude. 
  • Seek counseling or a support group.