Overcoming Stress with Exercise
This hub is centered on overcoming stress with exercise. Are you feeling stressed? Check to see if you notice one or more of these symptoms: pain in the neck, headaches or stomach upsets; tendency to dwell on your problems all the time; drinking or smoking more than usual; constant sense of frustration or feeling miserable; waking up worrying or having that sense of dread that won’t go away; and sleeping a lot more or less than usual. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it’s time to admit to yourself, “I’m stressed” and decide right here and now to do something about it.
Headache. Pain in the neck. Feeling nauseous. Check! Could it be that I’m overworked, eyes glued to the computer screen for long periods of time?
Tendency to dwell on your problems. Check! Oh no, I’ve noticed lately that even if I’m sleeping or driving or making poo poo, my mind is still thinking of what to write for my hub.
Sleeping less. Check! I sleep late and wake up at 2 am to check if the internet connection is okay so I can publish my hub for the day.
Okay, okay, I admit. I’m having Hub Stress already. Help!
There are many ways to fight stress. One way is to exercise. Getting yourself into an active mode by engaging in physical activity is definitely one way to help you cope with stress. Studies have shown that exercise has been proven to lower cholesterol levels, release muscle tension, increase the supply of oxygen to the brain and the rest of our body, and an outlet for negative emotions such as anger, irritability and resentment by releasing feel good hormones called the endorphins to the brain.
Hey, I exercise! Well, my wrist and fingers do. And I walk too. I go to the table where the telephone is and dial Globe Customer Service to complain about our slow or dead internet connection. I then do mouth and facial contortions when they tell me again and again, “We are sorry for the inconvenience ma’am but due to system restorations…” Blah, blah, blah. Making faces is a good exercise right?
Sorry for blabbering. What was it that I need? Feel good hormones? Can I buy that in the pharmacy?
Now that is our goal. We want those endorphins. We want those feel good hormones. And if exercise helps release those feel good hormones in my body, I am very much willing to engage in exercise. Are you willing to do it also? Alright! Let’s do it!
Groan. But if I exercise, I won’t have time to write my hub. I haven’t written one for today. Don’t look at me like that. Alright, I’ll zip my mouth. Zzzziiiippp.
Seven Important Things to Remember
- If you have any health problems (e.g. heart, back, spine problems, etc.) always consult your doctor first.
- Be realistic about your fitness goals. (e.g. start with a three times a week work out and slowly increasing it to four or five times a week.) Exercise sensibly and build strength and endurance. If you push yourself too hard you may end up feeling tired and discouraged.
- Choose an exercise that you like to do best so you don’t feel forced and end up quitting so soon.
- Always warm up and cool down before and after every exercise.
- Wear the right clothing.
- Drink lots of water.
- Most of all have loads and loads of fun!
Oh now you are talking about fun. Why didn’t you say so in the first place?
Well… I could use some fun in my vocabulary right now. I’ve been so serious lately I think that’s why I felt like vomiting when I think I have to write another hub. I concede.
Hey, you may be right. I do need to get up from this chair and just move a bit. What choices do I have?
The Walking Habit
This is one of my favorite exercises. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes and you can start right away. Walking is one of the easiest exercises and one that you can fit into your busy schedule. You can also choose a good location to walk like a park so you can commune with nature and breathe in fresh air. And if it rains, you can actually do indoor walking or use a treadmill.
Alternatives: brisk walking or jogging.
Dance the Blues Away
Dancing is fun and requires no special equipment. Do you know that dancing, aside from reducing stress, can increase bone density, improves your coordination and balance, tones your muscles and helps improve osteoporosis in women? Yes it does and more. So pick your favorite song and just allow yourself to move to the music. If you are interested in a particular form of dance, you can start enrolling in a class or buying a DVD to help you get started.
Some of the dance alternatives: aerobics, ballet, belly dancing, pole dancing, line dancing, swing, tango, cha-cha, salsa & other ballroom dances.
Swim into Action
Unlike other sports, swimming places no stress on joints and ligaments. That’s why it is ideal for people who have arthritis or those with joint problems. It can be good for those who are overweight, those with asthma, and virtually almost anyone. Learn to do different strokes like freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly for a full body workout. Swimming can also be meditative as you allow yourself to float and enjoy being lost in your own thoughts.
Variations: Water polo or synchronized swimming.
The Martial Arts Discipline
If you want something new to learn aside from the usual aerobics classes, another option would be Tae-Bo and kickboxing, workouts inspired by martial arts. All martial arts practices involve making a goal and teaching you how to accomplish it. This develops commitment and ultimately discipline. It also improves your coordination, flexibility, keeps your body strong and your mind sharp as you grow older.
Variations: Tai Chi, graceful controlled movements that can be executed by those who can no longer perform vigorous activities because of age, disabilities or illness.
Yoga for Health
Yoga poses called asanas, done with proper breathing, calms your mind, can make your body stronger and flexible, relax and tone your internal organs, boost your energy as your breathing and circulation improves. I know this to be true because yoga has helped me tremendously cope with my emotional and mental stress which was taking its toll on my body. Daily practice of yoga can help restore your natural balance, harmony and improves your health and outlook in life. Try this one for starters: 15-minute Yoga for Relaxation for Beginners or enroll in a yoga class.
Other forms of exercises:
- Cross Country Skiing
- Mountain Climbing
- Wall Climbing
- Cleaning the House
Gee I had fun! And I’m not just saying that. While you were lecturing all these, I did a 30 minute walk on the treadmill while listening to my favorite songs. I do feel better. In fact, I actually feel really good! This feel good hormone is quite something. I feel so good that I’ve decided to do it again tomorrow. And maybe next week, I’ll go swimming or belly dancing, pole dancing or even mountain climbing! We’ll see…
There are many ways to exercise to keep your body fit and healthy. Deciding to engage in a physical activity that you enjoy is one way to help you fight stress. The way to a loving and abundant life starts by the decision to love yourself by taking care of you.
BY: Michelle Simtoco
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