Perhaps it’s the result of having a new job, a new friend, a new partner, a new baby. You are overwhelmed with a feeling of excitement yet you feel inadequate as well – you are under stress. At times you might feel as if there’s no relief in sight, as if you’re on a treadmill.
It might seem ironic, but the secret to dealing with the stress could be to get onto a real treadmill. Exercise can be the key to stress relief. It is an antidote to fatigue. (Yes it is!) It can make you feel more energetic, improving your strength and resilience. It has been shown that individuals who are more physically fit often experience fewer health problems, as you might expect. What might surprise you is that exercisers are less likely to suffer from psychological problems leading to conditions such as depression, binge eating, or insomnia.
Without exercise you are increasing the likelihood that you will be afflicted with colds, flu, or other medical problems. Aerobic exercise in particular can improve your cardiovascular system and decrease your anxiety level. Some studies have shown that during aerobic exercise a chemical is produced in the brain which helps to heal the body from stress-related conditions. If possible you should exercise at least three days a week for 30 minutes at a time in order to improve not only your health but your mental outlook. One and a half hours a week, that’s all.
If you find it difficult to motivate yourself to exercise, there are a number of steps you can take to improve your atitude. To begin with you could join an exercise club. Knowing that you have to pay fees to a gym might well make it more likely that you will actually end up exercising. You might also consider enlisting the aid of a personal trainer, who can provide powerful motivation, pushing you to complete exercises you never thought possible. A less expensive idea is to join an exercise class. There, you are likely to meet other people in a similar position. The camaraderie that develops between exercisers can in itself help to reduce personal stress levels.
In general, exercise should make you feel less anxious. Your muscles become less tense and you will be less unstable after a session of exercise. It has also been shown that exercise leads to an hour and a half to two hours of relaxation response, sometimes referred to as the endorphin response. As a result your mood improves, enabling you to deal more effectively with stress and its causes.
Exercise can also improve your self-image. You should experience a feeling of greater self-worth, which will in turn reduce your stress level. A confident person is an individual who knows how to handle stress.
As a result of exercise, you could also end up eating better. Your improved menu might also prove to be a stress reliever. For instance, if you give up caffeinated drinks you could become less jittery, but this is for a separate article.
In addition to your sessions in the gym, look for additional opportunities to exercise in your normal life. This could mean taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking to work instead of driving, or playing football in the garden with your children. The point is to get moving – and keep moving – at every available opportunity.
Exercise improves the circulation, improving the blood flow to your brain, carrying additional sugars and oxygen, which can be important if you are concentrating. Improved circulation also speeds up the expelling of toxins from your system, which can lead to clearer thinking. You will also feel a greater sense of well-being as a result of exercise.
As has been shown here, exercise is beneficial for both the body and the mind. As a result, it can relax you when other techniques fail. By engaging in exercise you free up your mind, enabling you to concentrate better and work more efficiently. The chances are you will not only feel better, you will look better as well. Granted, exercise takes time and requires discipline, but it is well worth the exertion. The good feelings you get from a powerful exercise session can last for days. You may find that you actually look forward to working out because of the tremendous benefits it brings with it.