We need stress in our lives to stimulate action otherwise we would never get anything done but when it becomes too much it can influence our health in a negative way. Stress can lead to physical such as fatigue, headaches, digestion problems and sleep problems.
There are many useful things to do to help against stress such as meditation, having fun with friends, good nutrition, deep breathing, getting into nature and what I am writing about today – exercise.
The body and mind are very much linked to each other and exercise can be used as a source of stress relief. This is what happens when we exercise:
The production of feel-good neurotransmitters – endorphins increase while we train. It also reduces the stress hormone cortisol. I often hear from clients that they weren’t really in the mood to train, but when they are finished, they will tell me they are glad they did it. This is because we have triggered their endorphins.
I know for myself when I am out for a long, slow run on a Sunday morning, when I feel like I have Amsterdam to myself it gives me a beautiful opportunity to empty my mind and just let the time pass. For others doing a sport that requires you to concentrate on what your doing, such as tennis, also allows you to forget about day to day life.
Exercise is known to help improve your sleep. It helps reduce tension and make you more relaxed. If you are under a lot of stress, quality of sleep can deteriorate. Improving sleep with exercise will, in return, reduce your level of stress.
Exercise can come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Join a club – football, hockey, tennis, etc
- Join a group – boot camp
- Join a gym
- Get a personal trainer
- Do the gardening
- Go for a brisk walk
- Vigorous housework can also get your endorphins going
If you are new to exercise, take your time to build up gradually.
5 minute rule
If you are lacking motivation to start training why not try the 5 minute rule. This is when you promise yourself you will do 5 minutes of exercise. If at the end of the 5 minutes you still don’t want to continue that is OK, but if at the end of the 5 minutes you can continue then go for it. Most people who try this will continue and do a full workout.
As you can see exercise can make up part of a stress relieving programme. If you are feeling stressed and haven’t done so already, why not try out some sort of exercise and see how it makes you feel.
If you need some help to start exercises please feel free to get in touch with me. See my website for more information.