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Exercising for Stress


Part of the problem with modern stress is that your stress response primes you for physical fight or flight action but you seldom get to deal physically with the stressor. This makes it harder for your body to reset to normal between stresses. When your life is chronically stressful, regular moderate exercise (20-40 minutes 5-7 times a week) can help substitute in for a physical stress response, making it easier for your body to reset.

Exercise can be simple:

  • Walk at a moderate to brisk pace for 30-40 minutes
  • Swim 10 laps
  • Cycle a couple of miles
  • Go to a class – dance, martial arts, yoga, etc.
  • Participate in a sport
  • Even active housework, gardening or playing tag with your kids counts
  • Work out in a gym or follow a fitness program that makes you feel good

If your stress response system is in overdrive, exercise in morning or late afternoon but not within 3-4 hours of bedtime. Exercise that is too vigorous or frequent can aggravate rather than relieve an overactive stress response system.

If your blood sugar is very high, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

If you have adrenal fatigue, exercise should be gentle and of short duration to further drain your adrenals. Exercises like yoga done before bed can help raise cortisol levels slightly, making it easier to sleep soundly.

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