Managing Stress With Regular Exercise
Had a killer day at the office? Back home, everything gets to you – home chores, your neighbour’s cheery smile, and even your kids’ noisy antics. Whether you are a home-maker or a globe-trotting executive, stress is your faithful shadow. How do you cope?
Allowing tension to accumulate can affect your health negatively in a myriad of ways, from acne outbreaks to weight problems, heart disease, heightened blood sugar, ulcers and cancer. The simplest way to de-stress is to engage in regular, physical exercise.
Build physical activities into your life that will help you expend considerable amounts of energy:
Brisk daily walking is the least complicated exercise, with overall health benefits trickling in over time.
Swimming is a great form of exercise without pain or sweat! The rhythmic movements and feel of the water leave you feeling refreshed and completely relaxed.
Yoga is a complete system of exercise for both body and mind. The stretches build strong core muscles and flexible joints and the deliberate movements and deep breathing techniques help focus and calm the agitated mind.
All forms of sport (tennis, squash, badminton or team games) are great stress-busters, more so for people who hate exercising alone.
Making it regular
It’s easy enough to start an exercise program, but hanging in there can be a challenge! Think of your exercise period as a happy break, time off from life’s responsibilities. For many, the same kind of exercise gets boring. Try a mix – walking on some days and playing a sport with a friend on others.
Don’t forget the fun factor. You might like to revive activities that you once enjoyed like skating or a favourite ball game with a group of buddies. Look up local clubs or community organisations for what’s on offer. Sign up for dance classes – you might tap an undiscovered talent even as your stress levels plunge southwards!
Is your daily schedule already packed with must-dos that leave no time for exercise? Consider cutting back on watching television, working late frequently and other “activities” that you are habituated to, that do not add value to your life.
Physical or mental stress actually increases your body’s susceptibility to illness. Regular, moderate exercise powers the immune system, thereby warding off bugs. You also cope better when stressful situations do arise. Importantly, your exercise program should be in place well before such situations occur.
Cardiovascular exercise improves blood circulation and the delivery of oxygen to all organs. Levels of harmful cholesterol dip while your “good” cholesterol gets a boost.
Sweating it out helps you let go of anger, irritability and frustration. Even as your body gets shapelier, the brain releases endorphins – feel-good chemicals that relax and help you stay on top of things.