How can exercise help relieve holiday stress?

The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration, but they can also be stressful. You may find yourself wondering how you will have time to get everything done - shopping, planning holiday parties, attending parties - on top of your daily responsibilities. And you may find yourself negotiating demands of family and friends.
But dropping your exercise routine because you think you don’t have time could be one of the biggest mistakes of the season. Exercise is often recommended to reduce stress. That’s because it helps lower blood pressure, releases hormones that contribute to happiness (called endorphins), and provides an outlet for relieving tension and taking your mind off your problems. Reducing your stress and keeping your blood pressure under control won’t just keep you calm amidst so much to do; it also benefits your heart health.
Regular exercise has been shown in numerous studies to be as effective as or more effective than antidepressants and therapy in improving mild to moderate depression. Regular exercise can be as little as 20 to 30 minutes per day of increased physical activity.

Exercise has been shown to decrease resting heart rate, reduce blood pressure and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, all of which help to decrease the physiological causes of stress in the body. Exercise has also been shown to release endorphins and catecholamines, which are “feel good” hormones that also reduce stress and increase feelings of well-being. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.