Break a Sweat to Break Your Stress

Are you swamped at work?  Do you always feel one step behindtrying to catch up on all the chores on your “to-do” listeach day?  Do you toss and turn in bed at night thinkingabout all the things you should have accomplished that day,but didn’t?  All of us have experienced a hectic set ofcircumstances in our lives at one point or another.  Maybeyou experience stress every day of your life.  This stresscan lead to sickness, depression, and make you feeloverwhelmed.  Therefore, how can you combat this naggingdaily stress?  One answer is exercise.

Stress comes in both physical and mental forms.  Theseverity of stress placed upon your body depends on yourjob, family, and life obligations.  Exercise will benefitnearly everyone from a mother of five to a single on-the-goprofessional.  You can find a form of exercise to suit yourneeds whether you have just ten minutes of free time a dayor can hit the gym regularly.  Exercise has the potential tobe a highly effective stress reducer.  Following are commonquestions, excuses, and solutions regarding exercise in ourdaily lives.

How does exercise affect the body?  Won’t it make me feeltired? On the contrary, exercise has been shown to increase”endorphins”.  Endorphins are the “feel good” chemicals thatare linked to an elevation in mood.  This endorphin kick canbe akin to eating a chocolate bar.  Chocolate has caffeineand hits the pleasure center in our brain.  Exercise issimilar in that blood pumps faster in our bodies increasingthe oxygen supply to our brain.  This endorphin rush is whymany exercisers become addicted to exercise.

Exercise has long been an antidote to stress.  Exercisetakes your mind away from the stresses of daily life whileyou run, lift weights, or engage in any activity that raisesyour heart rate.  An added benefit to exercise is that itwill help you sleep better at night.  For many people stresswreaks havoc on their lives by causing insomnia.  Make sure,however, that you don’t exercise too close to bed time.  Therise in activity and heart rate that exercise brings shouldbe completed at least three hours before bed time.  Eachperson reacts differently to exercise so test out differentexercise times and see which time works best for you.

How am I supposed to find time to exercise when my day isalready filled to the brim with chores, kids, work, etc.?Before you brush off exercise time, take a closerexamination of your day.  Do you have down time?  Do youspend time watching television?  Many people watchtelevision during the course of the day.  This televisiontime could be exercise time instead.  Record your favoriteTV shows and watch them later after you have exercised. Timeexists for exercise; it is just a matter of making time andplacing value on your exercise program and overall health.


What type of exercise should I do to relieve stress?  Idon’t want to be a gym rat and purchase an expensive healthclub membership. Good news.  You don’t need to sign anexpensive gym contract to get your exercise in for the day.You can exercise from the comfort of your own living room orhead outside and enjoy the fresh air.

For example, break a sweat with exercise videos/DVDs.  Thereare a bevy of exercise videos/DVDs available for home usethat range for calming Yoga to boot camp kick boxing.  Somevideos/DVDs come with extras such as free weights, aerobicsteps, exercise balls, and strengthening bands.  It is likeyou have a personal mini-gym all to yourself.  You cancreate your own exercise video library and rotate thedifferent workouts to keep your exercise program varied andinteresting.

Strap on your walking shoes and head outside to enjoy thesights of your neighborhood.  Walking is a low impact formof exercise.  It is fun to walk with your spouse, children,and friends.  Many neighborhoods have jumped on the walkingbandwagon by starting walking clubs.  They meet twice a weekin the morning for an hour long walk.  It is a great way toget to know your neighbors and exercising with a partnerwill help you to keep on track.  This accountability is agreat defense against skipping your workout.

Many people want to get away from the stress of others. Theywant to walk and exercise by themselves.  If this applies toyou then you can listen to a tape or CD on your walk.  It isa great way to catch up on books you have been meaning toread by listen to the audio version.  Or you can listen tosoothing music.  Either way you can reduce stress from yourdaily life by placing your focus on other things besides allthe errands you need to get done that day.