Exercise: a prescription for stressBy Dr. Robert J. Muhammad | Last updated: Apr 14, 2015 - 8:30:06 AM
3) the economy
4) job stability
5) family responsibilities
Stress is the mind and body’s response to a real and/or imagined threat. Anxiety is an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear, often associated with sweating, tension, and an increased heart rate.
Signs that you may be stressed include:
1) inability to concentrate
3) weight loss or gain
4) high blood pressure
5) teeth grinding
6) nail biting
8) social withdrawal
9) mood swings
11) chest pain
12) unexplained anger
14) rapid heartbeat
Stress-related medications, anti-depressants, anxiety medications, and a host of other drugs are prescribed annually at staggering costs. Anti-depressant prescriptions account for $11 billion in annual income to pharmaceutical companies, and anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications rank fifth and tenth respectively, of all drugs prescribed in the United States.
Exercise aids in combating stress because it helps to eliminate stress from the body. If we purchased a car for $100,000, we wouldn’t hesitate to follow the maintenance recommendations to the letter in an effort to protect the life and performance of the car. Well, our health and longevity are more valuable and of greater importance than the maintenance of the finest automobile. Exercise, helps to ensure that all of our body’s systems are operating at their best. When your automobile is properly maintained, it operates better also.
According to the Harvard Journal of Medicine, “the mental benefits of aerobic exercise have a neurochemical basis. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers and mood elevators.” And according to the American College of Sports Medicine, “twenty-five minutes of moderate exercise creates a rise in mood enhancing neurotransmitters and a feel good afterglow that can last up to twelve hours.”
Begin a stress-busting exercise regimen, a regimen that will moderately increase your heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes, 3-5 times per week. Walking, Zumba, jogging, swimming, and cycling are excellent forms of cardiovascular exercise.
Make certain to check with your doctor to make sure all of your body’s systems receive the green light (smile).
Dr. Robert J. Muhammad is Clinic Director of the Midwest Back Center of Chicago. He can be reached at (877) 321-4040 or (773) 873-5000.