Getting Physical - Fight Fire with Fitness
Exercise can do more than help you drop a dress size or get those abs of steel you’ve always wanted. One of the very best ways to alleviate stress and anxiety is through physical activity.
Ever have a tough day at work? Are the kids (or your spouse) getting on your nerves?
“Take a walk.”
“Go for a run and let off some steam.”
We have all heard that before, right?
Well, there is truth in that advice. Looking into the science of physical movement and its relationship to stress, we will learn how exercise and movement can reduce our body’s stress hormones, and learn ways to implement some simple forms of daily exercise.
“Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body” ---- Arnold Schwarzenegger
Allowing the frustrations and stresses in our lives to wear on us can affect our health in many ways unless we find an outlet for that pent-up anxiety. According to a Harvard Health study, exercise reduces the level of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. It also produces endorphins which help elevate our moods and put us in a more relaxed state. Additional benefits that come with exercise can help improve your mood as well. Lost inches and a toned physique improves your self-image, giving you a sense of pride and self-confidence.¹
Regular exercise can also help you feel more energetic, sleep better, improve your memory and help you feel more relaxed and positive. It will boost your mental and physical energy and enhance your well-being. Your body and mind are closely linked, so when your body begins to feel better through exercise, so will your mind.²
Physical activity doesn’t need to be difficult or even overly strenuous. Find something that suits your lifestyle, is engaging, and brings you joy while doing it. Here are a few examples of exercises to incorporate into your daily life:
- Taking a walk-take a solo walk through the neighborhood or ask a friend or family member to join you. Walking and talking is a great way to sort through your feelings and emotions and engage with others.
- Swimming- if you don’t have a pool, look for a local recreation center. Swimming has some amazing health benefits and is a great exercise that limits the stress on your joints.
- Running-lace up your running shoes and head out for a run through your neighborhood, a local park, or trail.
- Yoga-This is another low-impact workout with many health benefits that focus on your breathing, flexibility, and mobility.
- Weight Training-Grab a couple of dumbbells from the store or utilize a gym and lift weights there. Your heart rate will climb and you’ll build muscle to help you with day-to-day movement and activity.
- Taking a class- Look into available classes in your area like spin, dance, pilates, or kickboxing.
- Joining a gym- Find a local gym, as they offer many different options for exercise at a gym, weights, treadmills, group classes.
- At-home fitness- If you don’t like the idea of a gym membership or spending your days working out next to strangers, there are some great online workout options these days. Platforms or apps like YouTube, FitOn, and others offer free workout routines. Check out some other apps or streaming services for a small monthly fee as well.
You can even find more simplistic ways of incorporating activity into your daily life. Activities around your home like cleaning, gardening, cutting the grass, playing fetch with your dog, or throwing on some music and dancing are all ways to get some movement in your life.
You will find when you are busy moving your body, there won’t be time to focus on the daily stress and worries in your life. As your mood improves and your mind is clearer, you’ll have the mental space and capacity to face what comes your way.