We’re right in the middle of Stress Awareness Month! We at Simply Gym thought we’d raise awareness to how exercise can help you reduce and manage stress, as it can occur in our daily lives. Whether these are arguments with friends or family, work-related or traffic making you late, most of us have gone through stress in one form or another in our lives. However, constant and extreme stress over a period of time can be extremely detrimental to your mind and body. You’ve probably heard time and time again that exercise can help improve stress. Well it’s true. Keeping active can keep major stress at bay, so that it doesn’t affect your mind and body.
Here are some of the ways exercise can help you cope with stress:
Pumping up those endorphins
To quote Legally Blonde: “Exercise give your endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Any physical activity can boost your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. These fight the stress hormone cortisol, and reduce stress going around your body. By getting your body moving, the blood pumping around your body releases these endorphins, so you feel better physically and mentally after you’ve completed your workout.
Meditation in motion
Exercise puts your body under mild stress, if it’s fast-paced. With the adrenaline running for that period of time, it reduces the production of stress hormones in your body. Meditation in general, is a great way to clear your mind. Exercise is like meditation in motion as you focus on your exercise form, so you get out of your head and focus on your body. It breaks up your thinking from your racing thoughts, improves your ability to think clearly and improve your concentration.
Healthy body = Healthy Mind
As your waistline shrinks, your self-confidence grows! Along with the extra endorphins circulating around your body, you start to feel better about your self image. Exercise is a form of self-love too (don’t laugh). Exercise can improve our sleep patterns too, which are often disrupted by stress, anxiety and depression. It’s a great way to bounce back from adversity. The more you exercise, the more you realise you have great command over your thoughts, body and life. Over time, your reduce stress from your body and learn to manage it.
Stress Busting Activities to fight Stress
As mentioned earlier, any way that you can move your body is great to combat stress. It’s even better when you’re in a group exercise class, as you feel motivated and inclusive within your tribe.
Aerobic activities such as running can give you runners high, and even Indoor Cycling can give your “Indoor Cycling’s High”! Intense activities such as HIIT, Boxing, Body Pump and Indoor Cycling absorb all your attention from stress, so you can “beat it out”. There are also low-impact activities like Yoga & Pilates. They are great ways to clear your mind and focus on breathing and stretching. Stretching is just as beneficial for your body as any form of exercise.