Happy Asian woman boxing at the gym.

Stress is a natural part of life, but an overload of stress hormones can spell trouble for your body and mind. Fortunately, exercise is a doable and accessible way to relieve stress.

The benefits of exercise for physical health are well-known. Staying active supports weight management, strengthens the muscles, and improves bone health. It also lowers the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

In addition, research shows that exercise is a mental health hero. Doctors recommend workouts to elevate mood and effectively manage stress levels. Scroll down to explore the impact of exercise on your well-being.

What Are Stress Hormones?

Stress is the body's built-in defense mechanism. Whether you're presenting to a challenging client or trying to finish cooking before dinnertime, both situations trigger worries, and the brain interprets them as "danger."

During a stressful episode, the amygdala, which handles emotions, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. This signal prompts the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and cortisol – stress hormones that enable you to push through challenging situations.

What is adrenaline?

Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, puts you in "fight-or-flight" mode. It fuels you with extra energy, sharpens your senses, and enables you to react quickly when confronted with a challenging situation.

What is cortisol?

After the body experiences an initial surge of adrenaline, the primary stress hormone cortisol takes over. It works to keep glucose levels and blood pressure elevated, allowing the body to remain alert. Cortisol also helps prevent excessive inflammation, improving the body's healing ability.

When stress hormones are activated, your body manifests symptoms such as a rapidly beating heart, clammy skin, and nausea. You may also exhibit emotional , such as moodiness or irritability. However, the impact of stress can differ from person to person, depending on factors such as perception, life experiences, and genetics.

The hormones quiet down and return to their usual levels once a difficult episode is resolved. However, constantly being in fight-or-flight mode puts you at risk of health problems, from to digestive issues and heart disease.

Benefits of Exercise in Stress Management

While it may be impossible to avoid stress, you can manage how you react to it. Research suggests that staying active can be an incredibly effective way to handle pressure.

According to the (APA), even though exercise can be a form of physical stress, people who work out regularly tend to have lower levels of stress hormones.

Meanwhile, a study published in Frontiers in Psychology linked and protection against poor health. Engaging in intense physical activity can help "mimic the responses that can come with anxiety," the APA says. Exercise then teaches you to manage these responses without feeling overwhelmed.

Many psychologists recommend exercise for their patients to achieve a sense of accomplishment, which can lead to other healthy habits like healthy eating, socializing, and better sleep. In turn, these habits can help alleviate symptoms of depression and improve overall well-being.

Post-Workout Ritual for Motivation

Embarking on a fitness journey sounds fantastic, but overcoming the initial hump of getting started can be tricky. Juggling work, family, and social commitments can make finding a dedicated workout slot challenging. And let's be honest: it is hard to resist the magnetic pull of a couch. 

Most people to exercise by creating a workout playlist. Others plot out their activewear for the week, while some look forward to a relaxing and rejuvenating post-workout routine. Here are four to keep the good vibes flowing.

Shower with a body wash.

Sweat can clog pores and leave you battling with body acne. to hydrate and freshen up your skin. Dove Go Fresh Cucumber & Green Tea Body Wash has a rich lather that cleanses your body while enveloping you in a spa-like experience with cucumber and green tea. It leaves your body fresh and hydrated.

Set a relaxing mood with scents. 

When inhaled, lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, and green tea aromas can create a calming atmosphere. But if you're low on your essential oil stash, use Dove Nourishing Hand Wash Cucumber and Green Tea to wash your hands. On top of removing germs, it has a combination of cucumber and green tea scents that soothe and energize the senses.

Enjoy a cup of tea.

Drink chamomile, lemon balm, or passionflower tea when you need help relaxing. You can also try lavender herbal tea, which improves sleep and reduces anxiety.

Compose a positive affirmation.

Positive affirmations are empowering statements you repeat to yourself as a reminder of your strength and determination. They can boost your self-esteem, counteract negative thoughts, and build an optimistic yet resilient mindset.

Seek Positive Stress

Transforming stress from bad to good is all about building your ability to adapt during tough times. Just like lifting weights strengthens muscles, experiencing small amounts of stress can help you develop resilience and cope with life's challenges. To equip yourself for success, try stress-reducing activities that fit your lifestyle and help you find your zen.

When managing stress hormones, exercise is a powerful tool in your arsenal. But to really see the benefits, it's essential to pair your workouts with quality sleep, a well-balanced diet, and rewards that keep you motivated. So, whether you're lacing up your sneakers or rolling out a yoga mat, know you're taking a decisive step towards a healthier, happier life.