This Byte has been authored by

Deanna Johnson,

Nidhi Jaitly,

Brenda Gatto and

emily beaver

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins — chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers — and also improve sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Physical activity such as yoga, sports and even breathing deeply can cause your body to produce endorphins.

A close up of a brain cell Photo by Josh Riemer on Unsplash

Sports

Looking for a way to be social and have fun? Choose sports for your physical activity!

Sports let you unwind, feel good and improve your fitness. They also provide social benefits by allowing you to connect with teammates and friends.

You don't need a ton of equipment to play sports. Here are some examples of sport activities you can play in all environments:

  • Pass a ball around with a friend

  • Scavenger Hunt

  • Hopscotch

Children playing in a schoolyard Photo by Xavier Wateva on Unsplash

Walking and Running

Walking and running lead to the release of the body's natural happy drugs — endorphins. When you walk at a brisk pace, a jog or even a full run, it raises the heart rate. This reduces the level of stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol.

Walking and running give you time to think, and gets you away from the causes of your stress. Getting out of the stressful environment, breathing the air, and feeling your body move is natural stress-relief.

A person walking on a sunny path Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

Yoga and Breathing Exercises

Yoga is a great antidote to stress. It combines techniques like postures, stretching, and breathing. All these techniques can be practiced alone or can be used together. Basic relaxation postures like cat-cow, spinal twist, neck stretch, and forward bending can be practiced irrespective of time and place. Yoga increases the blood flow in the entire body helping our mind, body, and soul to get relaxed.

Pranayama, a simple breathwork technique, helps in regulating the breath throughout the body through a guided inhalation and exhalation. Learn how in the video below.

Quiz

How does breathwork helps in releasing stress?

Meditation

Throughout the day, when we experience stress, our body response to it in a fight or flight mode. Meditation works exactly in the opposite way by triggering the body's relaxation response.

Try it yourself!

Sit in one place and focus the mind on an object, thought, or an activity like body sensations. This creates awareness, mindfulness, and more clarity in life. Meditative practice encourages the release of endorphins which flows through the blood and relaxes the entire nervous system.

A woman sitting on a rock meditating, overlooking the Grand Canyon. Photo by Matteo Di Iorio on Unsplash

Quiz

Under stress, what happens to your body? Select all that apply.

Other Physical Activities

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In addition to the physical activities listed above, a number of other types of physical activities have the same effect of relieving stress. Some examples include:

  • Gardening

  • Cooking

  • Dancing

  • Weight lifting

The key is to find something you enjoy and will keep you coming back for more!

Quiz

How much physical activity should I be doing each week?

Take Action

So now that you've learned a bit about how physical activity helps to reduce stress, go for a 20-minute walk, and then check out the next suggested Byte on Rumie!

A person walking on a park path Photo by Arek Adeoye on Unsplash

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