exercise pumps up endorphins, your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, any aerobic activity, such as a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike, can contribute to this same feeling.

exercise imitates effects of stress, such as the flight or fight response, and helps your body and its systems practice working together through those stress effects. this can also lead to stronger cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems—by helping protect your body from harmful effects of stress.

exercise also promotes a meditation in motion. mid-movement, you may often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrate only on your body’s movements.

by regularly shedding your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you stay calm, clear and focused in everything you do.

exercise improves your mood as well as increase self-confidence. it can help you relax, and lower symptoms of mild depression and anxiety, which can further help insomnia.

all of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life. don’t let stress get you down!

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