Long known to help stave off heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer, regular exercise can also help protect against the physical effects of daily stress. In the study of 135 college students, those who exercised on a regular basis were more likely to take life's daily stresses in stride, compared with their less physically active counterparts.
Previous studies have shown that mental stress takes a toll on physical health, causing such problems as increases in blood sugar levels among diabetics, worsening of joint pain in people with arthritis, and symptoms of psychological distress such as anxiety and depression.
During periods of high stress, those who reported exercising less frequently had 37% more physical symptoms than their counterparts who exercised more often. Exercise helps people get their mind off of stressors -- providing a time-out period. This allows for a temporary escape from the pressure of stressors and thus acts as a kind of 'rejuvenation' process.
Annals of Behavioral Medicine November 1999
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
Another reason to make certain that one has a regular exercise program. Clearly this is much harder to do in the winter. One of the more elegant and inexpensive solutions to winter exercise is using a professional type home mini trampoline.
I am not talking about the ones you purchase for $20, which break after several weeks. Cutting Edge (800-497-9516) sells them for slightly over $200, but they will likely last a lifetime. They can also fold in two and slide under your bed in minutes, as storage is a problem for most home exercise equipment.
Rebounding on the trampoline is an effective aerobic workout that also stimulates the lymphatic system to help remove toxins that tend to accumulate in the tissues. It can be done while watching a video or listening to music.
I have slowly limited my running to days in which the temperature is above freezing. This is largely due to the first ten minutes of the run, which are absolutely miserable if the weather is cold. Once one warms up, the body heat normally more than compensates for the temperature.
Well, I recently acquired an infra-red sauna for my home and will be using it to warm myself up before I go out running in the cold. I am guessing that this will allow me to comfortably run outside down to the middle teens. I believe that running in temperatures much colder than this, is not likely to be very healthy as it may damage the sensitive lung tissues.