How sport helps relieve stress

How sport helps relieve stress How sport helps relieve stress

Sport helps to relieve stress. But only if you don’t put added pressure on yourself. The best way is to take a moderate approach.


Puffing and panting after work as if you were training for the Olympics? Please not. It’s true that the human physical reaction to stress has always been the instinct to move – and this is why it makes sense to react to stress with exercise. However: “Too much sport causes additional stress,” says Katja Marschall, sports scientist and therapist at the burnout clinic Clinica Holistica Engiadina in Susch.

In order to reduce tension, a work-out with low to medium intensity is best. Rule of thumb: while practising the activity, a conversation should still be possible. 

Over-intensive exercise causes additional stress.
Katja Marschall, sports scientist and therapist

It’s the fun that counts

According to Katja Marschall, it's not the specific sport discipline that makes a difference, but the preference of the individual. It can be a moderate endurance sport like cycling, swimming, rowing, hiking or walking. Exercising in the wild outdoors increases the benefits for many people. But if you prefer dancing, feel free.

Others prefer a form of exercise that allows them to build up and/or relax muscles, such as pilates or yoga. The key thing is that

  • you enjoy the activity
  • it provides a good experience
  • it becomes part of your daily life

Because only those who exercise regularly will feel the benefits:

  • better regeneration
  • a more balanced mood
  • greater resilience
  • moderate sport benefits the vegetative nervous system
  • strengthens the heart and immune system
  • improves sleep
  • lightens the mood

What provides incentive

It’s often difficult to pull yourself together after a hard day's work. A helpful method is to fix your activities in your diary and make plans to meet other like-minded people on a regular and binding basis. Meeting once a week with the Nordic Walking Club can be a good incentive, in the same way as taking a course for a new sport could raise your chances of sticking at it.

It's also important to reserve enough time, as expending all your energy in a mad rush is just as counterproductive as aiming for the Olympics.

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