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Is sport good against stress?

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You leave the office. You have not seen the day through! Since this morning you are under pressure: the sensitive files have accumulated ... and tensions with colleges have increased. Fortunately, now you have an appointment with yourself! An hour gym is the program! You will relax!

Stress, what is it?

Stress is the set of chemical reactions to adapt to a new situation. Each time a different problem arises in your work, you have to respond ... and you get stressed. The body releases in circulation stimulating hormones. These are essentially substances near the famous "adrenaline". To help the organization meet these constraints, the brain secretes painkillers products called "endorphins".

Stress, what is it?

The chemical mechanism of stress is not perfectly suited to our modern, sedentary life. Of course, this hormonal discharge awakens your intellectual abilities and helps you take the pressure but it also makes your blood pressure go up and overloading your blood sugar and fats. This process has especially helped the survival of our ancestors. When the Cro-Magnon man crossed a bear, he lived a stress! He had to adapt to this unexpected situation, it was essential to him to flee or fight! He must provide a strong effort ... stress would help it! His hormones were causing the acceleration of his heart and freed his energy, he could run or hit! The "endorphins" reduced his suffering, he was able to continue the fight despite the injury. He survived! His descendant will work in an office and to the gym!

Sport against stress, how it works?

You understood, stress is a reaction of the particularly suitable for exercise body. Also you easily conceive that sport can be considered a "stress consumer." It is as if hormones and calories released during the day were burned during the effort!

The drive also acts as a "stress appeaser." The body of avid practitioner takes the good habit to rest better during recovery periods. Basal stress hormone levels decrease. This is why trained athletes have a slower resting heart rate than sedentary.

Exercise is a true "coach stress." Through sport, you get your body to relieve stress hormones. So you assume more easily psychic tensions inherent in everyday life. Your stock stimulants is more important, you're less likely exhaustion and depression.
Physical exercise is a source of "well-being anti-stress". The "endorphins" produced the effort to help the body to bear the pain at rest leave a feeling of fullness. These hormones may partly justify the psychological addiction to physical activities.

Sport and particularly the competition can act as "stress control". Indeed, to get good results, you need a minimum of motivation. On the starting line, the brain a little anxious turns on and wakes, muscles and heart prepare and benefit from some hormonal stimulation. Without any stress, the body fails to take action and performance will be poor. If the pressure is excessive, brain activity becomes disordered and energy is squandered before the starter will start competing.

Beyond the chemical functioning of our body, sports harbors "psychological anti-stress" significant. Number of technical sports require concentration. That forced him to "change ideas." Often, the physical practice is part of a project. Do our best to complete it helps to disconnect from their daily worries. Finally, go to practice, it is often the opportunity to "see the world". If sport is the theme of this relationship, it can help to build strong friendships. Dialogues, confidence and emotional ties then help express and to release tension.


The "introverts" are those who cash without retaliating. They ruminate and fail to expel tensions. Often their body modestly expressed their impregnation in stress hormones and their discomfort. They frequently complain of headaches, abdominal pain, tightness in throat or spine pain. The "introverted" while benefiting fully sporting activities especially physical outlets. Collective and technical sports require to communicate and focus, they are welcome! Football or rugby may be recommended. However, swimming, biking or jogging allow too rehashing their worries.

The "outgoing" are those that explode at the slightest stress and unable to control himself. Their brains too easily express stress! They are running out. They suffer their colleagues and their family circle. The "outgoing" benefit greatly from a canalisante sport, soothing and regulator. Of course, energy expenditure helps to calm this personality type; the same solitary endurance efforts can be offered. The exercises and relaxation imposing gestural controls also seem appropriate. Then think golf or yoga. The ATV achieves an excellent balance between physical effort and technique.

Attention sport it is also a stress!

Now you have understood, the sport is good against stress ... because it causes the body stress! Sport is a real stress! It is a physiological stress! it causes the same hormonal secretions!

But physical activity is also a psychological stress. To fulfill your resolutions for weight control, to stick to your sporty image, you must go train regularly. Without your gym workout or cardio, you do not feel well! Sport is perhaps become your drugs. If you feel the need to practice; if you are uncomfortable without your regular effort, psychiatrists think that you become dependent!

Sport is a logistical and emotional stress. Often your Thursday night Step class is just another appointment in your busy schedule. Not to miss, the organization of your working day must be blameless. As you look at your watch early in the afternoon ... you are stressed! Sometimes, you feel encroaching on the time you could spend with your children and your family. You feel guilty and you stress!

If too restrictive physical activity is added to all the stresses of everyday life, it can make you switch to exhaustion. It is strange as signs of "overtraining" closely resemble those of depression. Reduced activity, impaired intellectual and physical performance, difficulty sleeping or eating, multiple bodily complaints or repeated injuries require medical attention.

What sport against stress!

Choose the activities that suit you! Indulge in training! Depending on your personality "introvert" and "extrovert" (see box) opt for a stress relief or relaxing sport. Diversify your sports practices so you never get bored but also to solicit your entire body.

Moderate your workout. Too hard, too long, too often and body fatigue. To fulfill the daily, it should increase the secretion by stimulating hormones. He is forced to increase your stress! Go for 3 workouts per week, 30 minutes to 1 hour, at an intensity corresponding to a very slight breathlessness.

Get organized loosely! If your daily schedule is very dense, to waive too far from your home business! Avoid collective training imposing rigid timetables. Make your jogging whenever you want. Subscribe to a room located close to home or enjoy your living room to do some gym listening to your favorite music.

Make time to indulge in other leisure! If your physical activity commandeers all your leisure, you live your sport as frustration, it will accentuate your stress!


Dr. Stéphane Cascua.
Editions Odile Jacob - 20.6 euros

In his book, Dr. Cascua, sports physician, answers this provocative question. He does not hesitate to reveal to you all the dangers of the sport: sudden death, stress fracture, arthrosis, etc. The whole body can suffer. Far from being pessimistic, you also expressed to all the benefits of exercise: prevention of heart attacks and osteoporosis, reductions in back pain, etc. Punctuated with anecdotes, full of practical advice, this book clearly explains how to get the best and avoid the worst. It guides you to the most appropriate physical activity for health, enjoyment and well-being.

. - 27 avril 2009.

Conflicts of interest: the author or authors have no conflicts of interest concerning the data published in this article.


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