Today is National Stress Down Day and Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is calling for Australians to ramp up their physical activity in order to reduce their stress levels.
There is no question that stress affects many people. According to recent research, around 90 per cent of Australians experienced some form of stress, be it related to work, money, thoughts about the future, health or relationships.
ESSA Executive Officer Anita Hobson-Powell explains: “Stress can have a variety of physiological, mental and emotional impacts, and without relief, can result in issues such as elevated blood pressure, sleeping problems, headaches and chest pain. It can also suppress immune function within the body and worsen existing conditions, which is very concerning.”
But don’t stress too much, as the remedy is well within your grasp. In fact, one of the easiest and most effective ways to combat stress is through regular physical activity. Not only can exercise reduce stress levels, it can also give you a sense of accomplishment and assist with your overall sense of wellbeing.
“Exercise is proven to enhance your mood, reduce fatigue and restlessness and improve sleep quality,” Ms Hobson-Powell said. “It also enhances cognitive function and assists the mind to focus.”
“While it would be interesting to explore the correlation between certain types of exercise and their specific effects in more depth, this study certainly indicates that there are a range of positive stress-reducing benefits can be reaped from exercising,” said Ms Hobson-Powell.
“While it may be difficult at first, try to exercise regularly and you will soon feel the difference. As you notice your fitness improve and your body getting stronger, you’re more likely to continue the positive momentum and make better decisions about your health.”
To give you some idea of how stress affects most Australians, just check out these fast facts:
- 90 per cent of Australians currently experience some form of stress
- 99 per cent of people aged 18-19 experience some stress
- four in 10 Australians are experience a lot of stress
- being single is generally more stressful than being in a relationship, with only 34 per cent of partnered respondents experiencing a lot of stress, compared those who were single (52 per cent)
- women are generally more stressed than men.
If you fit into any of these categories, maybe it’s time you head to the gym, get on your bike, or take a long walk with your dog or a friend. Or you could visit www.essa.org.au to find out how you can get out and about and stress less.