Have you been feeling stressed lately? A recent study suggests there is one key thing you can do this afternoon to help!
Stress can be detrimental to your health, resulting in everything from higher blood pressure to nausea. Such knowledge is far from news but now a recent study has zeroed in on one of the biggest factors affecting our stress levels: our jobs.
Not to stress though (pun intended), this new study also suggests that exercise may be an effective way to ease health problems sometimes caused by work-related anxieties.
In the report, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 200 Swedish worker’s stress levels were assessed using the Nordic Questionnaire for Psychological and Social Factors at Work. The individuals also had their blood pressure, weight and cholesterol assessed, alongside their overall fitness levels.
According to the research, exercise may act as a buffer against some of the health risk factors that are known to be caused by too much stress. Since the people in the study were asked about their stress levels in general, and not work stress alone, the study also speaks to exercise's ability to combat the overall effects of stress.
Although this particular study didn’t specifically ask people whether exercise relieved their stress, other studies have.
"However, the paradox is that after a stressful day, people are more prone to engage in sedentary activities—most likely because these activities need less self-regulatory resources than exercise," says study author Markus Gerber of University of Basel in Switzerland. "Thus, although exercise might be a good medicine against stress, it will only have an impact if 'the pill' is taken."
More research is needed to determine whether there's an ideal time to exercise for stress relief, but Gerber says some evidence suggests that the four-hour window after exercise is when fitness provides the most protection against stress.