Exercising to relax – Harvard Health

Does exercising to relax sound like a misnomer? Well, read the question and answer below from someone who wanted to know if exercise was stressful.

Q: Can there be anything like stressful exercise?

A: I’ve been asked this question a lot of times. Some people think that exercise may actually worsen hypertension by causing more stress. This is a wrong notion. Exercise is useful in relieving stress by causing the release of body’s natural ‘feel-good’ hormones. These make you feel better, happier and look at your challenges, perhaps more benevolently!

However, if you have been sedentary for a while (that is, if you have not been involved in much physical activity for a while), please discuss your planned exercise regimen with your doctor before starting out.

You should also invest in heart rate monitors which ensure that you exercise within a ‘zone’ where you optimally lose calories and do not overdo it. You should also learn how to ‘roughly’ calculate your target heart rate…this is is that heart rate at which you burn calories optimally. We will look at the calculation of Target Heart Rate subsequently. But the rule of thumb is to take away your age from 220 and calculate 60% and 80% of that figure. Stay within that while exercising. The calculation (Karvonen method) is a bit more complex though and we will get into that another day.

For more on this, please click on the link below.


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