Exercise and Stress Management

22nd August 2014

“When I wake up my brain is on fire, I’m thinking of a million conversations I need to have at work or in my personal life, all the paper work I need to get off my desk, the meetings I have to attend”

 

Sound familiar ? It’s time to take CONTROL and CHANGE your thoughts & behaviour.

What is stress?

Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.

It affects the brain with it’s many nerve connections and that’s how it can have a negative impact on your overall health and well being.

Side effects of Stress:
  • Eat unhealthy (release of hormone cortisol which results in belly fat)
  • Disturbed sleep ( negative thoughts and constant anxiety)
  • Depressed
  • Moody
  • Lack of motivation
  • No energy

Stress is part of everyday life . There’s no avoiding it but plenty of ways to cope and reduce it.

How Exercise Can Combat Stress

“If the body feels better, so too does the mind”

Any form of exercise from Running to yoga can act as a stress reliever. You don’t need to be an elite athlete or fitness fanatic. Exercise goes a long way towards stress Management no matter what shape you feel your in.

PUMP UP YOUR ENDORPHINS
Physical activity helps bump up the production of the feel good endorphin called serotonin (happy hormone) and reduces the level of stress hormone (Adrenaline and cortisol). These feel good endorphins act as a natural pain killer and mood elevator.

MEDITATION:
After several laps of the pool or 30 mins of a light jog you’ll find that you’ve suddenly forgotten the days irritations and worries . Why? When you exercise your concentration is solely on the task at hand therefore the mind is unable to wander into a negative state of thought.

IMPROVES MOOD
Stress can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. When you look good you feel good, regular exercise can be the feel good factor you need as it plays a key role in enhancing your self esteem and confidence.

IMPROVE SLEEP
It’s very hard when your stressed to switch off your brain because it’s constantly in overdrive. Exercise acts as an output for these thoughts and feelings. You use up the negative energy and replace it with a positive feeling of control. This sense of command over your body allows you to turn off and give your body and mind the rest it needs.

LESS SUSCEPTIBLE TO ILLNESS
Studies have shown a direct link to heart disease and stress. Stress also causes a lowering of your body’s immunity so if there is a virus or bug going around guess who’s going to be the first to come down with it?

IMPROVE OVERALL PERFORMANCE
Exercise reduces the fatigue brought on by stress. Instead it enhances concentration levels and overall cognitive function.

A tough workout increases the level of BDNF a protein derived from the brain. BDNF is believed to help with decision making, higher thinking and learning.

How to get Started:

“Motivation is what gets you started, HABIT is what keeps you going”

  • ¬†Consult with doctor: if you have any medical problems
  • Walk before you run: build your fitness level gradually. It’s very easy in the beginning to get over excited and over train or cause yourself injury.
  • Do what you love : if you HATE running DONT run. Find something you enjoy because you will stick with it
  • Pencil exercise into diary: make an appointment with yourself. Write it down, plan out where you can fit in the training, how much time you have In the week to get it in.
  • Set yourself Goal: SMART (specific. Measurable. Attainable, realistic, timely)
  • Find a Friend/Join a Group
  • Change up your routine: if you get bored try something else.
  • Exercise in increments: if you can’t fit in a full 30 min walk , do 10 min walk 3 times throughout the day.
Best type of exercise for stress ?

Studies have shown that any form of Aerobic exercise helps combat stress because it elevates the heart rate and increases body temperature. When both of these happen that’s when the serotonin is released and the stress is relieved.

Three most popular stress reducing activities

Running
Walking
Yoga (meditation benefits)