The hormones and chemicals that control our stress response come from the adrenal glands which sit on top of our kidneys. It was previously thought that the adrenal glands were controlled from only a few areas of the cerebral cortex (the grey matter of the brain). This didn’t explain why body movement could play a part in decreasing stress.
Strick had a great quote on this, “There’s all this evidence that core strengthening has an impact on stress. And when you see somebody that’s depressed or stressed out, you notice changes in their posture. When you stand up straight, it has an effect on how you project yourself and how you feel. Well, lo and behold, core muscles have an impact on stress. And I suspect that if you activate core muscles inappropriately with poor posture, that’s going to have an impact on stress”.
What to make of this
For a lot of people, exercise is a great way to de-stress. This research goes someway to explain why. Since our world is inherently a high stress one, anything we can do to help destress is going to be beneficial. If exercising can help you destress, then not only will you get the benefits of having less stress in your body, but you will also get all of the other great benefits of exercise. It's a win win.
So, if you are feeling particularly stressed, try doing some exercise and in particular some core work. If you do, according to this research, your body will thank you for it.