Experts agree that exercise in almost any form can act as an effective stress reliever. By simply being more active you can substantially boost feel-good endorphins and also act as a positive distraction from your daily worries. Most people just think exercising is all about looking good and loosing excess weight and have no idea that it can go a long way in relieving and managing stress.
So how does exercise help in relieving stress?
Pumps up endorphins
Research proves that being physically active helps to substantially bump up the production of the feel-good neurotransmitters which are referred to as endorphins. This helps improve your mood.
Exercise is like meditation in motion
You will realize that whether you are jogging, carrying weights or swimming, you tend to forget all the day’s irritations and focus solely on your body’s movements. A daily exercise regimen means you will regularly shed all your daily stress and tension through intense physical activity. Overtime, you will realize that focusing on a single task a time results in energy and optimism that can help you remain clear, calm and focused in every single thing you do.
Regular exercise boosts self confidence
Working our regularly keeps your weight in check and leaves feeling and looking good which is a big confidence booster. The more confidence you have in yourself, the more your resole and capability to handle any issues that life throws at you without being overwhelmed. All these indispensable benefits of exercise will ensure that you have an increased sense of command over your body and entire life.
How to ensure exercise works to relieve stress
A successful exercise programs that will come in handy in relieving stress begins with a few simple steps;
Start by consulting a medical doctor who knows your physical and mental history
If you have not exercised for a long period of time and you have a few health concerns, it is recommended that you seek professional medical advice. Your doctor’s advice will help you establish the right parameters so that you do not overwhelm your body and burn out in the process. For exercise to be beneficial it has to be in moderation, not too much and not too little.
Start slowly you need to walk before you run
The saying Rome wasn’t built in a day holds water when it comes to exercise. Don’t just do everything at once instead focus on building fitness gradually. Doing too much too soon will not only take a physical and mental toll on you but can also result in injury.
When exercising always do what you love or prefer
If your aim is stress relief, you need to keep in mind that virtually any form of exercise can decrease stress. This means the most important thing is to select an activity that you love and enjoy doing. The last thing you need when you are already stressed is to have an exercise regimen that you hate.
Pencil it in
Carve out sometime out of your day to exercise. For exercise to be effective in stress relief, it needs to be a daily endeavor. Even if you are extremely busy spare at least 40 minute out of your day to enjoy an engaging physical activity that can help you relax.
The hardest part of working out especially if you are stressed is having the mental strength and motivation to stick with it. Consistency is key if you are using exercise for stress relief. With these 3 tips you will be able to stick with a new routine or reinvigorate a tired workout regimen
1.)Set SMART goals
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited goals. Since your goal is stress relief, you will do everything to adhere to an enjoyable workout regimen.
2.)Find a supportive exercise buddy
Knowing that someone you enjoy hanging out with is waiting for you to show up at the gym will fuel your motivation to keep going.
3.)Change up your routine often
Try out different things don’t just stick with the same thing to avoid getting bored and unmotivated.
Eat right, adopt a highly nutritional diet coupled with the right portions
The food you eat plays a huge role in helping manage and relieve stress. The diet and nutrition choices you make can substantially affect stress levels (they can either reduce stress or elevate it). There are certain foods that offer comfort and help in boosting the production of hormones that naturally act against the detrimental effects of stress. On the other hand, other types of foods and beverages enhance the production of hormones that trigger stress.
There is no shortcut; the only way you can handle stress better and even have a short at overcoming the effects of stress is to ensure you are as healthy as possible. The strategies below specifically focus on nutrition and how you can implement a diet that relieves stress.
Limit the amount of caffeine you consume or avoid it altogether
Caffeine is a dominant ingredient in tea, coffee and even in some sodas and chocolate. Caffeine has the effect of making you feel wound up which can in turn make stressful situations seem even more intense. If you already drink too much coffee then start reducing your intake gradually. This is because discontinuing the consumption of coffee abruptly can have negative side effects such as rampant headaches and difficulty concentrating.
If you have to drink alcohol then do it in moderation
Most people who are stressed tend to rely on alcohol to feel better. This is counter-productive because alcohol is only a temporary fix that does actually address the problem in question. If you want to be healthy enough to deal with stress then you have no option other than limiting alcohol consumption to 2 drinks daily for a man and only a drink a day if you are a woman.
Mealtimes should be fun and relaxed
When stressed there is a possibility that you will loose appetite and even lack the desire to eat. Try as much as you can not to skip any meals and avoid eating on the run as it can lead to indigestion. Skipping meals is detrimental because it will only make stress symptoms worse. Look at your meal times as a relaxing time when you can relax and reflect on your day.
Avoid using food as a means of relieving stress
Most people who are stressed tend to turn to food for comfort and to get away from their problems. This will only worsen the situation because you will develop what psychologist call overeating guilt. Additionally, overeating can also lead to massive weight gain that is unhealthy and makes you lose your self confidence.
What foods should you incorporate in your diet in you are looking to relieve stress?
Fruits rich in vitamin C such as oranges and blueberries are rich in antioxidants and natural fiber which helps eradicate the toxins that tend to accumulate in the body when stress levels are high. Consume Fish such as mackerel and tuna which are rich in Vitamin B12 and B6 which come in handy in fighting stress. Additionally, these kinds of fishes are also rich in omega fatty acids that help avoid the development of stress-induced cardiovascular diseases.
Vegetables of all colours are your friend if you want to relieve stress. Vegetables are rich in fibre, minerals and vitamins hence reducing constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhoea that can be caused by stress.