Are you swamped at work? Do you always feel one step behind trying to catch up on all the chores on your “to-do” list each day? Do you toss and turn in bed at night thinking about all the things you should have accomplished that day, but didn’t? All of us have experienced a hectic set of circumstances in our lives at one point or another. Maybe you experience stress every day of your life. This stress can lead to sickness, depression, and make you feel overwhelmed. Therefore, how can you combat this nagging daily stress? One answer is exercise.
Stress comes in both physical and mental forms. The severity of stress placed upon your body depends on your job, family, and life obligations. Exercise will benefit nearly everyone from a mother of five to a single on-the-go professional. You can find a form of exercise to suit your needs whether you have just ten minutes of free time a day or can hit the gym regularly. Exercise has the potential to be a highly effective stress reducer. The following are common questions, excuses, and solutions regarding exercise in our daily lives.
How does exercise affect the body? Won’t it make me feel tired? On the contrary, exercise has been shown to increase “endorphins”. Endorphins are the “feel good” chemicals that are linked to an elevation in mood. This endorphin kick can be akin to eating a chocolate bar. Chocolate has caffeine and hits the pleasure center in our brain. Exercise is similar in that blood pumps faster in our bodies increasing the oxygen supply to our brain. This endorphin rush is why many exercisers become addicted to exercise.
Exercise has long been an antidote to stress. Exercise takes your mind away from the stresses of daily life while you run, lift weights, or engage in any activity that raises your heart rate. An added benefit to exercise is that it will help you sleep better at night. For many people, stress wreaks havoc on their lives by causing insomnia. Make sure, however, that you don’t exercise too close to bedtime. The rise in activity and heart rate that exercise brings should be completed at least three hours before bedtime. Each person reacts differently to exercise so test out different exercise times and see which time works best for you.
How am I supposed to find time to exercise when my day is already filled to the brim with chores, kids, work, etc.? Before you brush off exercise time, take a closer examination of your day. Do you have downtime? Do you spend time watching television? Many people watch television during the course of the day. This television time could be exercise time instead. Record your favorite TV shows and watch them later after you have exercised. Time exists for exercise; it is just a matter of making time and placing value on your exercise program and overall health.
What type of exercise should I do to relieve stress? I don’t want to be a gym rat and purchase an expensive health club membership. Good news. You don’t need to sign an expensive gym contract to get your exercise in for the day. You can exercise from the comfort of your own living room or head outside and enjoy the fresh air.
For example, break a sweat with exercise videos/DVDs. There is a bevy of exercise videos/DVDs available for home use that range from calming Yoga to boot camp kickboxing. Some videos/DVDs come with extras such as free weights, aerobic steps, exercise balls, and strengthening bands. It is like you have a personal mini-gym all to yourself. You can create your own exercise video library and rotate the different workouts to keep your exercise program varied and interesting.
Strap on your walking shoes and head outside to enjoy the sights of your neighborhood. Walking is a low impact form of exercise. It is fun to walk with your spouse, children, and friends. Many neighborhoods have jumped on the walking bandwagon by starting walking clubs. They meet twice a week in the morning for an hour-long walk. It is a great way to get to know your neighbors and exercising with a partner will help you to keep on track. This accountability is a great defense against skipping your workout.
Many people want to get away from the stress of others. They want to walk and exercise by themselves. If this applies to you then you can listen to a tape or CD on your walk. It is a great way to catch up on books you have been meaning to read by listening to the audio version. Or you can listen to soothing music. Either way, you can reduce stress from your daily life by placing your focus on other things besides all the errands you need to get done that day.
Reduce your stress with exercise. It is a natural way to energize your body and calm your mind. Make exercise an integral part of your daily living. You will be glad you did as you enjoy each day, stress-free.