For over a decade, the American Psychological Association (APA) has commissioned an annual nationwide survey as part of its Mind/Body Health campaign to examine the state of stress across the country and understand its impact.
The Stress in America™ survey measures attitudes and perceptions of stress among the general public and identifies leading sources of stress, common behaviors used to manage stress and the impact of stress on our lives. The results of the survey draw attention to the serious physical and emotional implications of stress and the inextricable link between the mind and body.
In numerous studies, exercise has been proven to have many physical health benefits. While this is also widely acknowledged by participants in the 2013 Stress in America™ survey, few reported that they exercise regularly. More than a third, 37%, of respondents reported exercising LESS than once a week, if at all.
However, the survey did show that those who DO exercise regularly, experience a number of benefits beyond physical health. The following are statistics taken from the APA report on Stress and Exercise:
- 53% say they feel good about themselves after exercising
- 40% say it puts them in a good mood
- 32% say they feel less stressed after exercising
- 68% of teens who say they exercise or walk to help manage stress say the technique is very or extremely effective
- Teens who report exercising at least once weekly report lower average stress levels during the past school year than teens who report exercising less than once a week or not at all
- 53% of adults say they feel good about themselves after exercising
- 35% say it puts them in a good mood
- 30% say they feel less stressed
- 62% of adults who say they exercise or walk to help manage stress say the technique is very or extremely effective
- Adults who report the highest levels of stress in the past month (8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale) are less likely to say they exercise each week. They are also more than 4 times as likely to say they have skipped exercise due to stress in the past month. (64% vs. 15%)
- Adults who report experiencing high stress are also more likely to engage in sedentary activities for stress management
- ONLY 29% of those who go online and 33% of those who watch TV or movies to manage stress say these techniques are very or extremely effective.
- Adults with high stress were more aware of the benefits of exercise on their stress level. Roughly a third, 33%, report feeling less stress after exercise compared to 18% of those who had low stress levels to start.
Why does this matter? Chronic stress — stress that interferes with your ability to function normally over an extended period — is becoming a public health crisis. Recently, with COVID-19, this has escalated. Most Americans are suffering from moderate to high stress, with 44 percent reporting that their stress levels on issues like money, work and the economy have increased over the past five years. Stress is also taking a toll on kids, according to the APA. Almost a third of children reported that in the last month they had experienced a physical health symptom often associated with stress, such as headaches, stomach aches or trouble falling or staying asleep.
Together these responses point to exercise as a proven reliever of stress both in teens and adults, at a time when there is a great need. We may not always be able to change outside factors which cause stress, but improvement in mood, lower stress, more confidence and less depression can be just a workout away.
It is important to be active to keep both mind and body strong and healthy. If you have questions about what exercise programs or activities may be best for you, talk to your chiropractor at your next visit. As experts in the musculoskeletal system, they can help you determine what is best suited to your health needs and goals. If you don’t have a regular chiropractor, you can find one near your home or work at https://www.tnchiro.com/find-a-doctor/ .
REFERENCE: “Stress & Exercise” American Psychological Association https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/exercise.aspx
This article is being shared as part of TCA’s
“Realign Your Thinking” public-awareness campaign –
helping Tennesseans understand what chiropractic care offers
and the positive role it plays in the overall health care system.