Exercising to combat stress and anxiety

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  • Post category:Fitness

Have you ever found yourself saying “I’ve got too much on at work, I don’t have time to train”?

Sounds like you could use some ‘me’ time to wind down and relax a bit.

But did you know that finding time in your day to get the heart rate up with a bit of exercise actually reduces your stress levels and helps increase overall productivity?

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the daily grind. Putting work commitments ahead of personal health and wellbeing is not uncommon. There’s a large portion of the working world that would have you believe putting hours in at the office at the expense of some exercise at the start or even half way through your day is the most efficient use of your time and productivity. This could not be further from the truth.

There are many benefits of how exercise helps release stress and anxiety and helps keep you focused and more productive in your work day.

Lets focus on two of them…


Let’s assume you’re an office worker with a desk job and you’ve woken up after a solid seven to eight hours sleep. Upon resting so soundly, you’ve started your day with a high protein breakfast and are now ready to take on all that your day has to throw at you. (If this doesn’t sound like you, there’s a whole other article you need to read, on the importance of sleep and an increased protein diet).

If you have started your day well, your attention span at your desk will be razor sharp until around 11am (assuming the odd walk to the bathroom or maybe grabbing a cup of tea with a mid morning snack.) After lunch however, your attention span is usually good for 30 to 40 minute bursts before your mind starts to wander. It’s hard to maintain that same level of focus, staring at a screen all day. We need some form of release, and as we’re not accustomed to leaving our desk, that release usually comes in the form of an open Facebook or Instagram tab on your desktop.


  • Short term feeling of release increases
  • Productivity decreases
  • The chance of finishing that report on time decreases
  • Stress levels increase
  • You leave your desk at the end of your day feeling like you’re overworked (because you haven’t left your desk all day)
  • Anxiety follows you home



Among the many benefits of exercising (conditioning the body and combating illness and disease to name a couple), one key benefit is the release of endorphins. Endorphins act as natural painkillers to the brain which in turn help relax the body. Even 5 to 10 minutes of aerobic exercise has been shown to release tension, elevate and stabilise mood, and improve sleep and self esteem.

While initially feeling as though you’re slacking off at work by engaging in some midday exercise (going for a run at lunch, taking part in a work team soccer comp, or participating in a bootcamp) you will immediately see and feel the benefits for the rest of your afternoon at work.


  • Endorphin release increases
  • Attention span and productivity increase
  • The chance of finishing that report increases
  • The need to go surfing on the web decreases
  • The feeling of a more complete day at work without feeling exhausted increases
  • Stress and anxiety decrease!

So there you have it. Get up and get moving during your work day – your body and mind will thank you for it!

Written by Coach John