Manage stress in a healthy way to prevent physical and emotional problems.

Why Is Hitting a Punching Bag Good to Relieve Stress?

by Mary Marcia Brown

When you feel plagued with stress, it's important for you to find a healthy relief outlet. Unrelieved stress can lead to high blood pressure, headaches, heart problems and emotional disorders. During those days when the kids are arguing, you are running late and you lock your keys inside your home, you may feel like punching a wall. Opt for a punching bag instead, or take a good cardio kickboxing class. These types of focused exercises can create neurochemical responses and build confidence that will help relieve stress and allow you to relax.

Neurochemical Response

When you hit a punching bag, you are physically responding to stress. Physical exercise has a neurochemical effect on your body. Adrenaline and cortisol are your body's natural stress hormones. Endorphins are the hormones in your body that improve your mood. When you hit a punching bag, you decrease your stress hormones and help increase your body's painkilling endorphins, which improve your mood and helping you to feel less stressed.

Confidence Building

A single punch to a bag will not help you get stronger or improve your fitness level, but consistent self defense, boxing or cardio kickboxing classes can. When you gain physical strength, energy and stamina from exercising, you will build your self-confidence and improve your self image. In turn, you will find yourself emotionally stronger and better prepared to effectively handle daily tasks and the related stress that often accompanies them.


Visualization is a powerful tool when working out, especially when working with a punching bag. To practice this technique, visualize the culprit of your stress. Maybe it is the weight of daily chores, a demanding voice on the other end of the phone or a frustrating piece of technology. Imagine the source of your stress as the punching bag. With every punch, imagine the power of the stressor diminishing as your power over it increases. You will feel better, more in control and better prepared to tackle the tasks that lie ahead.

Resulting Relaxation

Powerful movement, like punching, can require a degree of intentional concentration that allows you to focus solely on your body's movement and not on the tension and aggravation of the day. In this respect, punching can serve as a sort of meditation allowing you to become more centered and relaxed after exercising. Incorporating this meditative movement in your daily routine will help you to maintain a calmer, less stressed demeanor.

About the Author

Mary Marcia Brown has worked in the health and fitness industry for more than 15 years. A writer and runner with road race directorship experience, Brown has been published in "Running Journal," "Florida Running & Triathlon" and "Outreach NC."

Photo Credits

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