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Get Moving! New Study Shows Exercise PREVENTS Stress

Jeremy Hendon | July 6

Stress is my Nemesis

Exercise Prevents StressSeriously. I don’t know pretty much anyone who isn’t more stressed than they would like to be.

I really just want to be happy and unstressed. All the time.

Lately, I feel like I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it. I tend to wake up in the morning pretty grateful for everything in my life, and I’m excited about most of the things I’m doing during the day.

I may not have mentioned it on the blog before, but I’m getting married soon, and then we’re traveling for quite a while. So, all in all, things are pretty good.

But at least once a week, I get pretty overwhelmed by all the things I need to do (marketing, phone calls, website maintenance), all the things I’ve failed to do (call back friends, start a podcast, read more fiction), and all the things that I could do (play basketball, walk outside, play with the cat). It’s inevitable.

We All Need to Exercise a Bit More – It PREVENTS Stress

This might seem a bit obvious, since most of us are pretty aware that exercise is a good way to blow off some steam and de-stress. However, it’s actually even better than that.

Here’s the paper (with a very long title):

Physical Exercise Prevents Stress-Induced Activation of Granule Neurons and Enhances Local Inhibitory Mechanisms in the Dentate Gyrus

In this study, the researchers made some mice run on a regular basis and let the others be lazy. They then subjected the mice to stress (cold water) and measured activity in a region of their brain called the ventral hippocampus.

What they found was that the mice who regularly ran had much greater activity in that area of their brain when under stress. That’s really important because the ventral hippocampus is the area of the brain that suppresses anxiety (aka stress).

In other words, exercising on a regular basis didn’t just relieve stress, it actually prevented it.

Takeaway: You already know that you should be exercising for a variety of reasons. However, most of us have a tough time figuring out how to decrease our stress levels. This should provide you with one answer that will also hopefully motivate you to move on a more regular basis.

How Do You Prevent Stress?

There are all sorts of theories and tactics for dealing with stress, but how do you cut it off at the pass? Meditation? Yoga?

Images (in order): Nottingham Vet School