Do you feel like your stomach is in knots? Are you often ill, catching every cold or flu that is in the area? Do you often feel anxious or depressed? Those are all symptoms of stress. Stress is the body’s response to danger. It causes the release of hormones that prepares the body to fight or run. That’s good if the danger is a wild animal or an attacker, but not good if it’s a traffic jam or an angry shopper. You can learn to deal with stressors, but sometimes, too many small things build up and you need to release it. That’s when you turn to exercise, since exercise is a great stress reliever.
Exercise burns off the hormones of stress and replaces them with ones that make you feel good.
People who workout at Iron Fit often are amazed at how angry they felt before they started their workout and how that all dissipated during the workout, leaving them feeling far better than they did before the anger and stress started. There’s a reason for that good feeling. Not only does the exercise burn off the hormones of stress, it also triggers hormones called endorphins, that make you feel good. Some call it a runner’s high. These neurotransmitters do function in the brain much like opiate drugs, providing the same pleasurable feeling that helps deal with pain or stress.
Sometimes exercise lets you quiet your mind.
Have you ever been so “into” your workout that everything else seemed to fade away? Maybe your mind was so focused that you only thought about each movement or the sound of your feet on the pavement. During that time, all the problems of the day disappear and your mind is truly in the moment. It’s like having meditation in motion and meditation is a good stress release.
Stress leads to anxiety and depression.
Recent studies show that exercise is a good adjunct therapy for both depression and anxiety. It’s believed that it’s because it helps eliminate the stress hormones that are often part of the problem. The body creates the feel good hormones that also help bring relief from the anxiety or depression. Several studies showed that just participating in moderate exercise three to four times a week can even help eliminate the need for medication.
You’ll help yourself both mentally and physically with exercise. Not only does it help your body by burning off the hormones of stress, it also helps build stronger bones, lower blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol and improves your self-esteem.
- Start your workout slowly. If you haven’t exercised before, don’t try to take on lifting too much or working out too long. If you’re lifting weights, allow your body a day or two to rest between sessions.
- Always check with your health care professional first before starting any program of regular exercise. In most cases, your doctor will approve. Always tell your personal trainer of any medical conditions before you begin.
- Have fun. If you make exercising more like a job, it becomes one more stress on your system. Incorporate fun activities into your fitness program, like hiking or basketball. It’s all about staying active and enjoying life.