Stress is something that we all have in common however, our stress management and coping styles can widely vary.  It is well known and agreed upon that regular physical activity can have a large, positive impact on our overall health, stress levels, mood, and cognitive function, and help us reduce our risk of many diseases.

According to the American Psychological Association, 53% of adults report feeling good about themselves after exercising, and 30% report decreased stress levels post-exercise; however, fewer than 43% of adults say they exercise to manage stress, and 39% report skipping physical activity in the past month when they were feeling stressed.

Let’s dive into some of the reasons that physical activity helps combat stress and some strategies to help with successfully incorporating exercise into your routine.

  Evolve Physical Therapy | Physical Activity Can Help With Stress Management : woman taking a rest from exercise; out of breath from running

Five Ways Physical Activity Can Help With Stress?

1. Endorphin Release

Endorphins are our natural “feel good” hormones that help improve our mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve pain. One of the most effective ways to release endorphins within our bodies is through exercise.

People often call this release of endorphins a “runner’s high” after a run; however, other forms of exercise that help endorphin release include swimming, biking, tennis, and dancing. 

2. Distraction

When we are feeling stressed or find ourselves in a stressful situation, it can be helpful to step away and occupy our minds and bodies with other activities, such as a walk outside or going to a yoga class. 

3. Improves Mood

We have a strong mind-body connection, and when we positively move and exercise our bodies, we can see positive effects on our thoughts and mood. Exercise and physical activity can improve our self-image, decrease anxiety, and help with relaxation. 

4. Improves Sleep

Exercise has been shown to improve our quality of sleep, decrease the time taken to fall asleep, and can help with insomnia. Who knew simply sleeping could be part of a stress management plan? See our sleep blog to learn more about the benefits of sleep

5. Helps Combat Some Of The Negative Effects of Stress

Chronic stress can increase the risk of headaches, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. Regular physical activity has been shown to affect mood positively, sleep quality, weight control, reducing our risk of cardiovascular disease, reducing the risk of some cancers, improving bone and muscle strength, reducing pain, and improving quality of life.

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended that adults participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity each week. 


Evolve Physical Therapy | Physical Activity Can Help With Stress Management : two men giving each other a high five
Exercising with a friend is a great benefit to your stress management by staying active with motivation!


Sticking to an exercise routine or finding the motivation to go exercise after a long day’s work can be a challenge. Let’s discuss some tips on successfully incorporating exercises as a regular part of your daily activities to help with your stress management.  

Four Strategies For Success To Decrease Stress:

1. Make It Fun

Try to pick activities that you enjoy doing. Exercise and physical activity comes in many forms and can include dancing, hiking, kayaking, bike riding, and Pilates.  

2. Set Achievable Goals.

It is important to meet yourself where you are in your health journey and to set both short-term and long-term achievable goals.

3. Bring A Friend.

Finding the motivation to exercise can sometimes be difficult. Having a workout partner or bringing a friend along to participate with you can be a great motivator! 

4. Break It Up. 

Exercise doesn’t have to be done in one chunk of the day at one time. If you have a very busy schedule, breaking up physical activity into smaller, shorter time frames throughout the day can be a great way to stay active and maintain your stress management plan without giving up.   


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Evolve Physical Therapy | Stress management blog post

If You Are In Pain When You Are Physically Active – WE CAN HELP!

Thank you for reading 5 Ways Physical Activity Can Help With Stress Management And 4 Strategies For Success.  We hope it has helped you understand a little more about how being physically active can help reduce stress.  

For a thorough evaluation and individualized treatment, contact our Sherwood clinic or our Bethany clinic today, and be seen in less than 48 hours.

Check out what injuries we commonly treat and what to expect during an appointment.



Exercise: A healthy stress reliever. American Psychological Association.,when%20they%20were%20feeling%20stressed. Accessed September 20, 2022. 

Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress. Mayo Clinic. Published August 3, 2022. Accessed September 20, 2022. 

How much physical activity do adults need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published June 2, 2022. Accessed September 20, 2022.