Craving Rest and Relaxation This Season? Get Moving!By DuBose Fitness
It’s a fact: life is stressful. No matter your stage or season of life, there are everyday stressors that may seem at times to be overwhelming.
If this sounds familiar, there’s good news: studies show that exercise can actually help you feel less stressed and better able to cope with difficulties. There are quite a few reasons for this; let’s look at stress relief as one of the many health benefits of exercise.
Exercise and Your Brain
When you are stressed, your body releases chemicals into your bloodstream. Cortisol, for instance, is the hormone that is associated with the natural “fight or flight” reaction humans have to stress. Incidentally, your body releases cortisol when you exercise, too! The stress exercise places on your body causes this, but it’s not a negative thing!
When you regularly work out, your body will become better at managing the amount of cortisol released under stressful situations. Over time, you’ll be better able to handle stressors as they’re presented to you daily – from traffic jams to employee evaluations – with less cortisol released.
In addition to cortisol regulation, exercise has another effect on your brain. When you work out, your brain releases endorphins. Endorphins are the “feel good” chemicals that act as natural painkillers, similar to morphine. The release of endorphins can give you a more positive outlook, making exercise one of the best ways to relieve stress.
De-Stressing with Exercise
In addition to the immediate effects of exercise, like the release of endorphins, working out can have a long-term impact on your stress levels. First, you know that exercise will improve your overall health. You’ll be less likely to get sick, which does eliminate quite a bit of stress!
Exercise is also a social activity! When you work out with a buddy, you’ll feel happier and more motivated. Exercise is also a great bonding experience – don’t be afraid to get the whole family involved! The family that works out together has less stress together!
Finally, exercise is a healthy distraction from your stressors. In fact, more and more doctors are “prescribing” exercise as part of a treatment for alcohol dependency and other illnesses. So the next time you’re feeling a little tightly wound, take a walk around the block or schedule a meeting with your personal trainer.
Get Started: Beat Stress with Exercise
The studies have been done, and the science proves it: stress is more manageable with exercise. Are you ready to get started beating your stress? It’s time to get moving! Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Join an aerobics class
There’s little like a fitness class to get you moving. You’ll experience the social benefits of exercise as well as, perhaps, a bit of healthy competition. After all, you’d hate to be unable to keep up with the young man on the cycle besides yours.
Inquire at your gym about fitness class times and the variety available. You’ll find that these classes are becoming more and more unique, with offerings from Zumba and spin class to line dancing and Bollywood!
- Meet with a personal trainer
Meeting with a personal trainer is one of the best things you can do for your fitness and overall health. First, your trainer will take into account your particular lifestyle to design a custom plan to suit your needs. Secondly, he’ll consider your fitness goals, whether they be for stress management or even weight loss. Finally, meeting with a personal trainer provides accountability! You’ll definitely hit the gym if you know your personal trainer is expecting you!
- Get more active at home
Stress-busting activity doesn’t have to take place at the gym! You can get physical at home and enjoy the benefits of boosted endorphins and reduced stress. Go outside and rake leaves or walk the dog. Jump on the trampoline with your kids, or do a few laps in your pool. Any activity is good activity, no matter where you do it!
Life is stressful, no matter who you are or the lifestyle you lead. Fortunately, exercise can help! Next time you’re feeling wound up, take a deep breath and get active! Exercise will give you short term relief as well as long-term benefit, so get moving!