Hey! I hope your all enjoying the 7 days to stress less mini series?

This is the 5th post in the series, and ill keep it short and sweet today! We are going to focus on how exercise helps stress

So let’s get to it!

Did you know that exercise helps stress?

Of course, you do, we are all told that we need to exercise more and that some of us just aren’t active enough.

Now I’d be a complete hypocrite to sit here and write an article about fitness and exercise if I was coming at it from a, you should do this and that perspective…. but I’m not!

I’m writing this as much for myself as I am for you! I need to up my activity level so believe me when I say that I wrote this post to encourage myself as much as anyone else.

The science

Exercise works in a variety of different ways, not the least of which is the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones.

Of course, exercise has all sorts of other benefits too, but for now, let’s focus on the stress-reducing properties and endorphins play a big role in that.

Moderate exercise is also great for your heart and will help reduce blood pressure. In other words, exercise helps you directly combat some of the worst effects of stress. 

Another reason exercise is great for stress relief is because it helps you sleep better at night.

There’s nothing like deep sleep to help you relax and wake up refreshed and decidedly less stressed.

Getting a good workout in or doing a few yoga exercises before bed can help you get to sleep sooner and stay asleep longer. Give exercise a try and see the benefits for yourself. 

Start off small and work your way up

It doesn’t take a lot of exercise to start seeing the benefits. Something as simple as a ten-minute walk will help and the benefits stack up quickly when you make it a daily habit.

You can get out there and walk. Or you can make yourself walk on the spot in front of the TV during commercial breaks.

Get a pedometer that beeps when you’ve been sitting for too long and strive to walk 4,000 steps per day. You can slowly increase your daily target as you become more confident.

Of course walking isn’t your only option. Any type of physical activity helps reduce stress.

I always think that in order to help make something a habit, it has to be enjoyable. There is absoloutely no point in starting up an exercise that you hate and have zero motivation for.

You will quit and feel disheartened. The best thing to do is to think about something that sounds fun and appeals to you.

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Keep it fun

Did you enjoy a particular activity at school perhaps? Maybe you enjoyed playing netball or rounders in high school. You may be suited to more of a team sport as opposed to one where you are isolated.

That social interaction of exercise helps stress, you will look forward to meeting up with like minded people and letting off a bit of steam.

Find a league that meets once or twice a week. Go along to watch at first to see if the sport or activity still i terests you. Perhaps they offer a free trial?

If you enjoy swimming, find a local pool and fit a swim into your routine. It doesn’t have to be anything too taxing, just a few lengths will make all the difference to your stress levels.

Or how about dancing? You can join a club, take lessons, or just crank up the music and dance around the house whenever you need a break from everything else.

Keep it fun and enjoy the additional mood-lifting benefits of the music. If you’re ready for a more intense workout, sign up for a Zumba class. 

Here’s the key to adding more exercise and physical activity in your life. Try something and see what you can stick with. That’s the most important part. Create some simple routines and habits that will have you moving more and watch the stress melt away.

Share your thoughts below. Does exercise help you de-stress?

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