Stress is a major part of most people’s lives. And while eliminating it completely is highly unlikely, there are a lot of ways to manage it. One of the most effective, yet under-utilized methods of stress management is physical exercise. Now, before I scare any of you away, you won’t be training for a marathon, yet; or completing a 45 – minute HIIT training program. Simply put, exercise can be as simple as getting off of the sofa, away from the television and/or video game, and going for a stress – reducing, invigorating walk. This process of movement will connect your mind and body; give you mental clarity; and increased physical energy. More about the science behind these simple concepts follow below. While it is, perhaps, the most prescribed method of stress management by heath care professionals, it is only used by 14% of the respondents who reported physical and emotional symptoms of stress in a survey completed by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Why don’t more people take advantage of the stress reducing sweat sessions? Well, the physical benefits of exercise are widely publicized and understood. The mental benefits and their connection to our physical health are less known. In general, stress effects the brain by creating fatigue, lack of concentration and mental acuity, as well as overall cognitive function. And this has a major effect on how the rest of your body reacts to stress. Everything in the human body is connected, but nothing more so than the brain. Therefore, it is only natural that if your brain is struggling, so, too, will the body. The benefits of exercise are plentiful, but when it comes to stress management there are two major benefits to mention. First is the increased production of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are known as the body’s “natural painkillers”, neurotransmitters that reduce the feeling of pain and fatigue. So, if you are creating more of them, you will naturally feel less pain and have more natural energy. Being a former long distance runner, I can attest to the euphoric sensation – mind and body – to completing a tough race, or completing a really challenging ‘KIRSCH’ boot camp. The second benefit can be felt physically. Stress causes us to be tenser, tightening our muscles, clenching our jaw, back and or neck pain, even causing asthma and anxiety attacks in some more extreme cases. Exercise can help us to prepare those muscles to work more efficiently, reducing the physical symptoms of the inevitable stress. Not sure where to start with an exercise routine? You can start with something as simple as a 30-minute walk. Try bringing a friend along, the time will fly by. Ready for something a bit more rigorous? Are you ready to #GETKIRSCHED! – I KNOW YOU ARE!! Try my 25-minute full body workout “Body Blast” on your CYBEROBICS app. No matter what activity you decide to try, your body and mind will thank you.