Manage Stress: Exercise

Focus on Health to Help Manage Stress

 

Manage Stress with Health: Exercise

Exercise is a great way to help manage stress. It provides a physical release of the stress you may be experiencing while also doing something positive for your overall health and wellness. There are a few different basic types of exercise to choose from, and many different forms of workouts you can utilize to find the type of exercise that works best for you!

Focusing on health through exercise is a great way to help manage stress. It provides a physical release of the stress you may be experiencing while also doing something positive for your overall health. One of the important things to remember as you make your fitness routine or workout program is that too much exercise will overdo it while too little exercise won’t be enough to help much. Some of you may be worried now, but don’t be. At first you may start out with a small routine or program until you build up your endurance, dedication, or secure it into your schedule enough that you are able to add on more. Be sensible and balance your workouts with other activities that are important to you. Use moderation in the amount you exercise too – some people will burn out if they do too much too fast while others thrive on being pushed. It is important to set practical target points for your exercise and be reasonable with yourself. After all, you are trying to help manage your stress – not add to it!

There are a few different types of exercise to choose from. This should help you find something that you could use to meet your needs. Each type of exercise has many different forms to utilize in the work outs which should help make it easier for you to find a routine that you can enjoy, fits into your schedule, and meets any physical limitations or requirements you may have. For instance, if you were interested in increasing the flexibility of your joints and muscles, you would probably want to look into flexibility exercises. On the other hand, if you wanted to increase your endurance and stamina, you would probably want to look into cardiovascular exercises. There are four basic types of exercise:

  • Balance and coordination (horseback riding, Pilates, rebounding, walking)
  • Cardiovascular (endurance and stamina – aerobic dancing, biking, running, swimming)
  • Flexibility (joint and muscle – stretching, yoga)
  • Strength and Resistance training (muscle and bone strength – abdominal crunches, free weights, push-ups, weight machines)

Sometimes it’s good to choose one type of exercise to focus on while other times a method called cross training – in which you combine or alternate with different elements from multiple types – is the best to use. So, once you select the type of exercise you want to do, you need to work on implementing it. We have a few suggestions on how you can go about helping yourself make exercise a priority for you. Remember that this is about helping you manage your stress, so it is very important to not let yourself get worked up about it. That being said, let’s talk about some practical applications for putting exercise in your life.

  • Walk when you can and use the stairs.
    It is really easy to be hurried and looking for all possible ways to conserve your energies in our fast-paced, high-tech society. Many of us drive everywhere we go, take elevators, and ride escalators. When we can, though, we should make an effort to walk to the store or walk to work. We also should try taking the stairs when possible. Maybe get a step counter to see how much you actually do walk on average. Once you know, maybe try and walk a little more. This can be especially good for people who work in offices and have very sedentary lines of work. Plus, getting up from your seats and taking your breaks once in a while by getting up and moving could help reduce your stress at work.
  • Use available fitness facilities.
    Many schools and some job locations have fitness facilities available for students or workers. A lot of times these are free of joining fees like that of a regular gym. Also, if you live in an apartment complex, often times there are either swimming pools or indoor equipment available there as well. Find a little time in your day to walk over to wherever your free available equipment is and spend a few minutes there. Maybe the first time you go, you will only be there for fifteen minutes. Then the next time, maybe you’ll spend twenty or thirty minutes. Don’t be afraid to try new exercises, but make sure you know how to do them properly. The last thing you want is to somehow injure yourself by not being properly positioned or stretched before using equipment or performing a move.
  • Take up an activity.
    There are tons of activities you can do on the side to boost your activity level and incorporate exercise into your life. Some of them you may have to join a group or sign up for, but if it is something you can afford or something you really enjoy or are interested in doing then why not give it a try? Activities like this can be wide and varied from recreational sports to learning self defense. Some activities you might consider looking into for your area might be:

    1. Ballroom Dancing
    2. Basketball
    3. Jujitsu
    4. Pilates
    5. Soccer
    6. Swing Dancing
    7. Taekwondo
    8. Zumba

    Of course, there are a lot more out there then we listed above, but you get the idea. Find something that makes you feel better after you’re done. You may be tired or a bit sore sometimes, but if you overall feel better internally – mentally or emotionally – or feel relaxed and find it’s easier for you to sleep at night, then focusing on the exercise aspect of your health is probably helping you manage your stress better. Maybe the next time you’re feeling anxious, you should take a moment and look into taking up an activity!

  • Find activities to do outside of a club.
    Previously, we listed some activities you can join a club for. However, a lot of activities can be done at home or without joining a club at all. It could be nice to have a group of friends or associates that you do these non-club activities with, but maybe you rather enjoy or prefer doing exercise by yourself. Either way, solo or in a group setting, there are non-club activities you can do that will be just what you’re looking for. However, as we stated before, make sure you are comfortable knowing the proper execution of movements and positioning before you get started. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself while trying to help relieve stress! Check out these activities that are easily done alone and don’t require any sign-up fees:

    1. Basketball
    2. Horseback riding
    3. Pilates
    4. Rollerblading
    5. Running
    6. Soccer (with friends, of course)
    7. Swimming
    8. Weight lifting

    You may recognize some of the above listed items from the list of activities you could join a club for. Well, that’s because you have options for that activity. You could choose to get a gym or club membership to do them, or you could do them right in your own home. Some activities, like yoga and Pilates are good to get instructional videos on in the beginning – just so, again, you can be sure not to injure yourself. We keep saying that, but just because it’s important!

  • Work out with friends or family.
    Turning exercise into a social event can sometimes really make a difference too. As we’ve stated before, some people prefer to work out alone, but others are more motivated and more satisfied when they do it with a group of people – especially people they know or like and can chat with. Friends and family are great support, and might even be trying to incorporate exercise into their lives too! Invite one or a group of them along. Maybe you and your significant other will find you enjoy being able to help release stress through an exercise like jogging or cycling while being able to talk at the same time. If you haven’t tried it before, maybe it’s worth giving it a shot!

The important thing to remember as you pursue being fit is that it is a lifelong goal. It’s a process that is never completely done. Being physically fit increases your energy and enhances your overall health and wellbeing, thus allowing you to cope better with stress. Plus, during physical activity, the brain releases endorphins that have a positive and calming effect on the body. Once you have a routine established, you may find you even look forward to working out – if nothing else because of the after effects you feel and enjoy. Of course, we recommend that you check with your physician or care provider before you begin any kind of strenuous activity – especially if it’s been a while since you’ve made exercise a regular part of your schedule. In any case, walking is a great way to begin incorporating exercise. Just remember to use balance and moderation.

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