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    How Chronic Stress Affects the Body

      |  Jan 24, 2023

    You already know what being stressed feels like. You may be irritable and tense, but there’s likely much more going on in your body than you know. Here’s a closer look at what stress can do on a physical level and what you can do to manage it.

    The Impact of Chronic Stress on Your Body

    Stress is the body’s natural reaction to threats. When we encounter a perceived threat, we experience a host of bodily changes, from muscle tension to accelerated heart rate. While these changes can actually help us perform better in high-stakes situations, our bodies aren’t meant to deal with them on a long-term basis.

    When stress becomes chronic, we may experience several health changes, including poor sleep, stomach upset, muscle pain or tension, and mood changes. Over time, persistent stress could even increase your risk of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, which is likely due to the prolonged inflammatory effects of stress.

    Fortunately, there are several ways to address chronic stress, one of which is movement.

    How Movement Helps

    Exercise is one of the most powerful antidotes to stress. When you work out, your body releases endorphins. On a chemical level, these hormones stop stress in its tracks. Yet, exercise also has the added benefit of clearing your mind. It can also boost your mood, allowing you to feel better overall.

    The Best Exercises for Stress Relief  

    Virtually any exercise that gets your heart pumping can help alleviate stress. Yet, there are some specific stress relief activities that may deliver the greatest benefits. Here are a few options to try.

    Fast-Paced Walks

    Walking is one of the best activities for stress relief because you can do it almost anywhere—plus, it’s free and doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. While a long walk in nature may clear your mind the best, research indicates even a quick, 10-minute walk could be enough to help you feel calmer.


    If you’re feeling motivated to take your walking up a notch, consider running. True beginners can increase their endurance with a couch-to-5K program, which will slowly build up your mileage. Whether it’s on the trails, treadmill, or pavement, many people find that nothing compares to a runner’s high for clearing the mind.


    Cycling is among the best stress-relieving activities for adults who may have joint issues that make running or brisk walking uncomfortable. Get out and explore bike trails near your home for a change of scenery or get an endorphin rush indoors by taking a spin class.


    Hitting the pool is another joint-friendly workout that will deliver the same stress-busting benefits as higher impact exercises. Beyond triggering the release of endorphins, swimming can also have a soothing effect on people who enjoy being in the water.


    Whether you’re a talented dancer or just like to have fun, dancing can be one of the most freeing forms of exercise. While you can take dance classes in person or follow a video online, this workout doesn’t have to be structured. Simply turn on your favorite music and get moving.


    Unlike the activities above, which relieve stress through endorphin release, yoga tends to be a slower, intentional practice that pairs poses and flows with deep breathing. Although slow, deliberate movements don’t necessarily create the same rush as a high-intensity workout, they can create a mind-body connection that helps curb stress.

    While exercise can indeed be a powerful stress reliever, it’s not always easy to find the energy to start. You may experience aches and pains that make exercise seem daunting. Turn to Modern Age for treatments that can boost your energy, athletic performance, and overall mood. 

    Start with an Aging Wellness Assessment to learn about your body on a deeper level and find out which of our treatments best suits your needs. Our in-studio Energy IV drip is packed with B and C vitamins to combat fatigue and dehydration, which can leave you feeling worn out. For an easy at-home option, try Thorne® B-complex #12 supplements to rediscover your energetic side.