Cardiovascular Exercise

Another way to alleviate stress is to perform cardiovascular exercises or cardio for short. Cardio is a form of aerobic exercise.

Science behind aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise, defined by the American College of Sports Medicine, is any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously and is rhythmic in nature. These exercise need aerobic metabolism to get the energy from amino acids, carbohydrates, and fatty acids in our body. Aerobic exercises can be done by aerobic capacity. Which is the product of capacity of the cardio respiratory system to give oxygen, while the skeletal muscles use the oxygen. Aerobic exercise is vital for mental health and studies have been shown that it may decrease tension, improve sleep, and self esteem. Those few factors mentioned can have an affect on our bodies relating to stress.

What exercises are considered cardio?

When you hear the word cardio you automatically assume running. Yes running is a form of cardiovascular exercise but there are many others out there as well. Hiking, dancing, swimming, and even something as simple as walking would be considered cardio or aerobic exercise. Lets not forget Tai Chi and yoga are beneficial as well. "Sessions between 60 and 90 minutes performed 2 to 3 days per week were effective in reducing stress and improving feeling of well being"(Jackson,2013). Group exercise classes can also be beneficial. They give you a support and accountability, which is believed to add in helping with reduction of stress as well.

How much exercise is needed for stress relief?

Exercise helps the body recover and handle stress when a certain amount of activity has been reached. The recommended intensity for alleviating stress is from moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise. Aerobic means "with oxygen".  So any activity that gets your heart rate and breathing going, but not to the point where you can't keep up with the activity. It is recommended that 150 minutes of moderate intensity per week should be completed. If you are more advanced than 75 minutes of vigorous intensity per week. There have been findings that after bouts of at least  30 minutes of aerobic exercise, you feel more calm. The calmness can last up to several hours after exercise.