It seems like everyone’s mantra today is “I’m so stressed”!
Life is busy and stress comes out at us from many directions: family commitments, work commitments, health concerns, financial concerns, the list is endless.
How do we deal with the stresses in which bombards us and negatively affect our physical and emotional health every day? Well, we’ve all heard the saying “stressed spelled backwards is desserts” which goes hand in hand with the golden oldie “a moment on the lips is forever on the hips”.
A longer lasting and more effective way of dealing with our daily stresses is in the form of exercise (I heard that collective groan, but listen up it’s not so bad). Exercise has been proven to decrease the ‘stress hormones’ like cortisol which cause us (and often your band) to tighten up, and increase the ‘feel-good’ chemicals called endorphins which give you a natural mood boost. The more you exercise the better you will feel and the less stress you will experience!
TIP #1: Safety first. Before beginning a fitness program always consult with your health care professional first.
TIP #2: Don’t set the bar too high. How many of us have decided Dec 31st around 11:59 p.m. to join the gym only to find that goal a little daunting and after a couple of weeks we never darken the door again?
If you are new to exercise, start with baby steps and work your way up. Excitement about a new program can lead to overdoing it and possibly even injury. If you begin your program slowly, chances are, you’ll stick with it. If you’re new to exercise, aim for about 20 to 30 minutes of exercise, three to four days a week and increase gradually. This does not all have to be at one time, as long as you are doing it. It is also extremely beneficial to incorporate some strength training exercises at least twice a week.
TIP #3: Choose something you like to do. Pretty much any form of exercise or movement can increase your fitness level while decreasing your stress. The most important thing is to pick an activity that you like to do.
If you love to walk, invest in a good pair of shoes and find your inner Forrest Gump. If you groove to “Flash Dance”, plug in your iPod, lock the bedroom door and bust some moves. Don your gardening gloves and “Get Physical” in your garden. The more you enjoy an activity, the more likely you are to do it and I GUARANTEE your stress will start to melt away.
TIP #4: And finally set aside some “me time” and stop feeling guilty. This is not a luxury and it is not being selfish. It is a necessity and just as you would schedule in an important breakfast meeting or your children’s soccer game, set aside some time to get active and de-stress.
They say it takes 30 days to break a habit and 30 days to make a habit. Why not take The 30 Day Challenge! Commit yourself to doing some form of physical activity daily.
Anything you like to do and commit to at least 10 minutes every day for 30 days. Allow yourself to quit after 10 minutes if you are not enjoying yourself. Chances are you will find yourself extending those minutes, feeling energized, sleeping more soundly and handling life’s stresses more effectively.
Yours in Health and Fitness,
P.s. Follow me on my blog @ Bodywell Fitness