Are you having one of those weeks? Getting that feeling of dread every time your alarm clock goes off? Worrying about all of those university assignments or work project deadlines that are looming in the near future? You need to get active! Exercise has been shown to be an effective form of stress management and for a multitude of reasons.
How does it help?
Firstly exercise helps to improve our brain chemistry by reducing our levels of ‘stress’ hormones that make us feel anxious and worried. It can also lead to improved endorphin levels – hormones that give us a feeling of well-being. Subsequently this can help you to focus and ultimately make you less ‘fidgety’ – meaning that you will be able to approach problems with a clearer mind.
Exercise also helps to distract us from present issues. When you are focusing on getting through that last kilometre of your run or that last heavy set of deadlifts, you find yourself in the present moment. It provides you with time away from your worries where you are purely focusing on the task at hand, whilst getting some magnificent physical health benefits simultaneously.
Exercise can also help us deal with stress when facilitated within a positive environment. As humans we are social creatures and crave a sense of community, subsequently, this sense of community can come in multiple exercise-associated forms. This can include joining a local sporting team, or even something as simple as joining an exercise class. When you are working with others to conquer a physical challenge it gives a sense of camaraderie that can lead to life-long bonds and friendships.
How do I get started?
There are multiple things you can do to get started with exercise in order to improve your ability to cope with stress, the following is a list of ideas but I assure you, you are not limited to these exclusively:
- Start out small – Something as simple as a 20-30 minute walk daily can help improve not only your physical fitness but your mental wellbeing. This allows you to cope better with the stresses that is presented each day.
- Join a local sporting club – This will provide you with a sense of community whilst it distracts your from your daily stresses. This gives you something else to focus your energy on.
- Try something new – Try a new hobby that you have perhaps thought about trying, but always told yourself ‘next time’. This could potentially lead you into a new passion that helps distract you from your daily worries whilst simultaneously giving you a healthy dose of physical activity and improved brain chemistry.
- Do something you enjoy and can adhere to – This comes above all, if you do not enjoy what you are doing and it is not realistic to adhere to it, you are unlikely to stick to it and reap the rewards.
Now that you have the information you need and some tips to get you started, go forth and melt that stress away in a healthy and constructive way that will add value (and maybe years) to your life!
Make sure that you book in to see an Accredited Exercise Physiologist at one of our Optimum studios by calling us at (02) 8599 6275.