Do You Exercise to Reduce Stress?
Stress can do funny things to people!
For example, while at the grocery store you may see someone having a meltdown because there weren’t enough lanes open. Their eyes bulge, their face gets flushed red and you find yourself mentally going through your CPR training just in case their head explodes! Or people’s skin breaking out or turning flushed when they are stressed or upset over a period of time.
You may not react that way to a stressful situation (at least, we hope you don’t), but even without a meltdown, stress can do a number on your mind and body. You lose sleep, every little thing gets on your nerves and you start to feel like you can’t get a handle on your own life.
Life is full of surprises…not all of them good. Life’s little events can often cause stress, anxiety and a bad case of the blues. Some of these we expect–the change from Fall to Winter is often a rough transition for many of us and bad weather can make you feel tired and cranky. The holidays are often a rollercoaster of emotions, bringing out our best and, sometimes, our worst. Then there are the unexpected surprises–losing a job, moving to a new city, contracting an illness, fender benders and other events, big and small that test our mental strength.
Unfortunately, we can’t predict the future, but we can find ways to relieve stress in healthy ways. One of the best ways to work out the stress and pull yourself out of the dumps is to get some exercise at the club and move your body!
There’s no way to get rid of stressful things in your life, so the next best thing is figuring out how to deal with them. My number one favorite is, of course, exercise, because it helps:
* Release tension
* Put you in a better mood
* Give you time to escape from your problems or, for some people, face them and come up with solutions
* Make you feel more confident about yourself
* Gives you a sense of mastery in a world gone mad
What about you? Do you use exercise to reduce stress? I heard from a friend last week who was struggling with her workouts. After exercising for a few weeks, she was discouraged by her lack of results and asked, “How do you keep going day after day?” That’s a question many new exercisers have and I have the answer (you may drumroll now, if you like, hehehe): Setting goals.
I don’t think setting goals is the only thing you have to do to keep going, but it’s at the top of my list when it comes to motivation. People often start out wanting to lose weight or tone up, but that’s a long-term goal. It may motivate you that first couple of weeks but, when you realize how slow that process actually is, you lose interest and that’s when motivation slides.
One answer to that is to set smaller goals to keep you going throughout the week. Your goal might be to come to the club a certain number of times or to see how many workout outfits you can sweat through in one week. Keeping your goals more immediate can be satisfying and may just be the one thing that keeps you going day after day!
And… your stress levels will drop dramatically, too!