Prioritising which foods you put in your body, as well as what exercise you do, can benefit your health and wellbeing in many ways. More specifically, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help de-stress the body and give your mental health a boost. We’ve put together an in-depth guide on how your diet and exercise can help to keep your stress levels in check.
How Stress Can Impact Your Body
Many factors of your daily life can put you under pressure, resulting in feeling stressed. Whether that be an exam, going to a job interview, or meeting new people, stress can be caused by something unexpected, threatening or an experience which is out of your control.
Putting yourself under constant stress can have a huge impact on both your mental and physical health. Some indicators of stress include:
- High blood pressure
- Chest pains
- Panic attacks
With so many signs and symptoms of stress impacting our body, it’s important to try and eliminate the amount of stress that builds-up as much as possible. Continue reading to discover how you can help reduce stress through diet and exercise.
Stress Relief Foods
Food means fuel and one of the ways you can reduce stress is by maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. This is extremely important as stress can sometimes result in increased blood sugar, which can lead onto further health implications.
Protein, such as lean meats, poultry, and legumes, are extremely good stress relieving foods as they release sugar into the bloodstream slowly, helping to keep both your blood sugar and stress levels in check.
A stress relieving nutrient that helps to boost your mood and reduce stress is omega-3. Found in salmon, mackerel, sardines, and walnuts, the fatty acids found in these high omega-3 foods can have a positive effect on your brain, which can help regulate your mood and de-stress the body.
How Exercise Can De-Stress the Body
When we exercise, our body releases endorphins in the brain which can help you de-stress and boost your mood. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can help eliminate the build-up of stress and replace it with these ‘happy hormones’.
Some exercises can also help distract the mind, putting your focus solely on that exercise and in the present moment – perfect for helping you leave behind any thoughts and worries from your day.
Getting yourself into the habit to exercise daily is also a great way to improve your quality of sleep, which can also contribute to lowering your stress levels.
4 Stress Relief Exercises
Whether you’re at home, in the gym, or even at the office, try out our top four stress relief exercises:
You probably already know that yoga is top of the list when it comes to stress relieving exercises. Focusing on your breathing during yoga can help signal the brain to relax and help you gain a sense of calmness.
Yoga isn’t just about yoga matts and lots of stretching – you can also do plenty of yoga stretches at your desk! From neck rolls to a simple spinal twist, you can add yoga into your routine no matter where you are.
It sounds too good to be true that a simple stroll outside can help boost your mood, but it really can. You don’t need to break a sweat every time you exercise to be able to release endorphins. All you need to do is go for a gentle walk and your brain will soon release endorphins that can help stimulate relaxation and reduce stress levels.
3. Circuit Training
If you’re looking for something with a little more intensity, you could try circuit training – also known as HIIT. The high-energy aerobic exercise plan allows you to channel your focus on each workout station. This will inevitably get your heart racing and allow high levels of endorphins to be released.
Meditation is a mental exercise rather than physical, and it’s a great way to relieve your mind from any stresses you’ve encountered throughout the day. Similar to yoga, meditation can be done anywhere, at any time. If you find yourself in an overwhelming situation at work or when you’re out and about, take some time to soothe your mind with meditation.
Discover more ways to look after your mind with your diet:
Discover our four tips on how to eat mindfully.