Stress is a funny old thing and can arise from any kind of thought or situation that makes you feel frustrated, angry or anxious. However, stress really is an inevitable part of life and in small quantities it can be incredibly motivating, empowering and productive.
But as we all know too much stress can have the opposite effect completely and can undermine your health, make you feel ill and leave you susceptible to infection, heart disease or even depression, all those things we really don’t want in our lives.
Fight or flight syndrome
You don’t need me to tell you but isn’t it horrible how habitual and persistent feelings of stress and anxiety can interfere in the way you live your life. When we are anxious or afraid (fight or flee syndrome) our bodies produce adrenaline so that we can react instantly to any given situation, however, if we do neither, fight or flee, but remain in a constant state of anxiety the adrenaline still keeps pumping through our bodies and builds up tension to an unbearable point!
Why exercise helps alleviate stress
We all know how good exercise can be to help to alleviate stress and anxiety and can help to reduce those feelings before they actually turn into depression or something even more serious like an incapacitating illness. The release of those wonderful feel good endorphins decrease tension and lift and stabilize those mood swings and improves sleep which is an added bonus.
Stress and anxiety also has a strange way of making you feel helpless and at the mercy of external forces but exercise and feeling good is empowering and it’s very important to find an exercise that suits you, your personality and your lifestyle. That way you’re more than likely to keep at it!
It makes sense to try and exercise for about 30 minutes three to five times a week if you can manage it. If you like running, aim for 3-5 miles without stopping, or if you can’t run that far, try running 100 yards and then walking 100 yards alternatively.
Circuit training should also be done around 2 to 4 times a week as part of your weekly training programme with a day off in between to rest, recuperate and mend, which is incredibly important.
On rest days if you feel like it, walk for 30 minutes. Try to set yourself small daily goals and focus on consistency rather than perfection as it’s important NOT to turn your exercise sessions into a stress test or a guilt trip. It’s much better to take a regular walk for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three hour marathon session that will kill you off in the process and certainly de-motivate you.
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Life is for living
Enjoy your exercise and have fun, remember life is for living!
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Best wishes Garth Delikan, The Lifestyle Guy