Virgin Active: How exercise can help with stress

Virgin Active: How exercise can help with stress

With April being Stress Awareness Month, our partners at Virgin Active have written a great piece on how exercise can help with stress.

The blog can be read below:

How exercise can help with stress


Sometimes we all need to shut off for a bit and de-stress after a long day at work or home and exercise might not immediately come to mind as a way to relieve stress. The classic image of unwinding for some is often candles, incense and a bath but there are different types of workouts that can help reduce your stress levels too.

Keep reading to find out how different ways exercising can help you feel less stressed, improve your sleep and more. Why not try some of the breathing techniques outlined below?


Exercise boosts your mood

Studies have shown that any type of exercise, even for a short amount of time, can reduce the level of stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. Exercising produces endorphins, that “happy” feeling you get after a workout. So let the stress out and the happy hormones in! Why not try going for a run or walk to clear your head and get the endorphins pumping?

Exercise helps you sleep better

A lack of sleep can make us irritable and stressed especially during a busy day or week and no, coffee is not your best friend at this point! Around 76-83% of people in a survey by Sleep Foundation had better sleep after exercising . This in turn, will have you waking up feeling more refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Exercise is a good way to socialise

Exercising with a friend or meeting like-minded people at the gym has a positive impact on your physical and mental health. Together, you could find a new workout or class to try and add variety to your workouts. Having a buddy with you can also help with motivation. Join a Group Exercise class such as Yoga or Boxing or purchase a guest pass and bring a workout buddy along with you to your next gym session.

Exercise improves self-confidence

Working out isn’t always just about feeling stronger or fitter – you can improve your mental wellbeing by exercising regularly too. A study done by the Springer Series in 2018 suggests that self-esteem tends to be lower in people less active. So exercising can boost your self-confidence and self-esteem helping your mind and body to feel less stressed or anxious. Low-intensity exercises such as Yoga can help you calm your mind.

There are also some useful breathing exercises you can try anywhere and anytime to help you feel less stressed. Check them out below!

Belly breathing

This breathing technique helps you use your diaphragm properly, as well as helping you to relax. Lie on your back and place one hand on your upper chest and the other below your ribcage.

Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling your stomach press into your hands. Exhale through your nose or mouth and feel your stomach muscles tighten. Repeat this for about 5 minutes.

Alternate nostril breathing

This breathing technique lowers your heart rate which helps you relieve stress. Use your right hand to close your right nostril. Inhale through your left nostril then close your left nostril with your pinky. Release your right thumb and exhale out of your right nostril, then repeat on the other side for 5 minutes.

Box breathing

This is a more visual breathing technique and it helps to picture a box. Taking slow deep breaths, inhale for 4 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts, exhale through the mouth for 4 then hold again for 4 counts before repeating the box pattern. This exercise can help if you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Another version is to inhale through the nostrils for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts and repeat.
Try out some of these exercises if it’s all getting a bit much for you and let us know if you’ve got other ways of de-stressing on our Instagram