- Carol Michaels
Exercise to Beat Stress
Did you know that exercise is one of the best ways to beat stress? It works in a variety of different ways, not the least of which is the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Of course exercise has all sorts of other benefits too, but for now, let’s focus on the stress reducing properties. Moderate exercise is also great for your heart and will help reduce blood pressure. In other words, exercise helps you directly combat some of the worst effects of stress.
Another reason exercise is great for stress relief is because it helps you sleep better at night. There’s nothing like deep sleep to help you relax and wake up refreshed and decidedly less stressed. Getting a good workout in or doing a few yoga exercises before bed can help you get to sleep sooner and stay asleep longer. Give exercise a try and see the benefits for yourself.
It doesn’t take a lot of exercise to start seeing the benefits. Something as simple as a ten-minute walk will help and the benefits stack up quickly when you make it a daily habit. You can get out there and walk. Or you can make yourself walk in place in front of the TV during commercial breaks. Get a pedometer that beeps when you’ve been sitting for too long and strive to walk 4,000 steps per day.
Of course walking isn’t your only option. Any type of physical activity helps reduce stress. Think about something that sounds fun. Maybe you enjoyed playing basketball in high school. Find a rec league that meets once or twice a week or stop by the park on the way home for a quick pickup game. If you enjoy swimming, join a local pool and take a swim before dinner, or first thing in the morning. You can probably shower at the facility and head to work from there.
Or how about dancing? You can join a club, take lessons, or just crank up the music and dance around the house whenever you need a break from everything else. Keep it fun and enjoy the additional mood lifting benefits of the music. If you’re ready for a more intense workout, sign up for a Zumba class.
Here’s the key to adding more exercise and physical activity in your life. Try something and see what you can stick with. That’s the most important part. Create some simple routines and habits that will have you moving more and watch the stress melt away.