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High-intensity exercise can strengthen mind and body.

Two of your New Year’s resolutions for 2017 might be to stress less and exercise more, but did you know doing one could lead to the other?

Organisations such as Exercise and Sports Science Australia, beyondblue and Anxiety Treatment Australia have long vouched for physical exercise as a simple and effective way to reduce stress. However, scientific studies have shown there is a neurochemical basis behind these claims. A 2013 study in The Journal of Neuroscience found that exercise can train a person’s brain to dampen or block the hippocampus (the brain’s hormone control centre) from releasing stress-inducing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.

In the same way that physical training can make your body adapt to grow faster or stronger, it seems that exercise can train your brain to be better at handling mental stress. So next time you’re under pressure at work, your brain will be able to block those pesky stress hormones, allowing you to remain calm and think logically.

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