How to Bust Stress With Exercise

How to Achieve Work/Life Balance

Running Outdoors

There are lots of reasons to exercise. Physical fitness can help you gain muscle and lose weight, for one. It also can give you more energy. It can even help you sleep better. If you're an overworked professional, however, one of the most compelling reasons to exercise is that it can help you reduce stress.

"Researchers at the University of Roehampton in the U.K. found that all forms of exercise improved mood, anxiety and stress," author Bailey Vogt reports in an article for the Washington Times.

For a study published in the journal Mental Health and Prevention, the aforementioned researchers analyzed the impact on stress of numerous exercises, including football, running, mountain biking, aerobics, aqua aerobics, basketball, fencing, swimming and volleyball. What they found was: Outdoor exercise busts stress better than indoor exercise.

"The studies found the indoor groups' stress levels were reported, on a 1-to-5 scale, at 2.42 prior to exercise, falling 8 percent to 2.23 afterward. By contrast, the outdoor groups' stress fell from 2.35 out of 5 to 2.05, a 13 percent decrease," says Vogt, who reports that the best exercise for stress was running outdoors.

Concluded the researchers in their study, "Green exercise, and running outdoors in particular, has stronger positive effects on acute mood and perceived stress levels than non-green types of exercise."

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