How Do You Manage Your Stress?

How Do You Manage Your Stress?

Good Morning McKinley!

Exercise reduces stress.  This isn’t the first time you’ve heard that, nor will it be the last.  Through this email I want you to understand why exercise does such a good job reducing our stress and learn successful ways for you to manage your stress  Stress that is not managed can lead to sleepless nights, headaches, a weakened immune system, high blood pressure and the list goes on.

How does exercise help us relieve stress?

Simply put, exercise depletes our stress hormone, cortisol and releases endorphins which is known as the “Happy” hormone.  According to the Stress Management Society, “Any form of physical activity leads to the release of these feel good neurotransmitters. The increase in endorphins in your body leads to a feeling of euphoria, modulation of appetite and an enhancement of immune response. This helps combat the negative effects of stress”.

The American Psychological Association reported, “[Exercise] forces the body’s physiological systems — all of which are involved in the stress response — to communicate much more closely than usual: The cardiovascular system communicates with the renal system, which communicates with the muscular system. And all of these are controlled by the central and sympathetic nervous systems, which also must communicate with each other. This workout of the body’s communication system may be the true value of exercise; the more sedentary we get, the less efficient our bodies in responding to stress”.

How to successfully relieve stress through exercise:

1.       Choose something YOU enjoy doing: If you’re stressed out about releasing your stress, you need to figure out why!  Are you stressed about taking the time to exercise or are you stressed about the actual workout?  If it’s time you’re worried about, try taking a 10min walk, 3 times a day or do a 20min bodyweight workout before work.  If you’re stressed out about the workout, choose a different workout.  Everyone is different and we all relieve stress in different ways.  No matter what you choose, you should feel rejuvenated when you’re finished exercising.  Here are some examples:

  • Walking, jogging or running
  • Riding a bike or taking a spin class
  • Water aerobics, swimming laps or playing with your kids in the poolJ
  • Paddle boating, stand up paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking
  • Yoga, pilates and tai chi
  • Playing golf – without a golf cart J
  • Rock climbing
  • Dance or aerobics class
  • Circuit Training

2.       Make an appointment: Relieving your stress is a very important appointment to keep but it’s also the easiest appointment to cancel because it’s not really mandatory, right?  Don’t you think feeling your best so you can perform at your best, should be mandatory?  Schedule your exercise appointments when you schedule the rest of your appointments for the week.  Keep the appointment – it’s important!

3.       Be Consistent: Unless you are ill or have a physical ailment that is preventing you from doing anything, stay consistent with your workouts.  Consistency will help you manage your stress and ultimately, that’s what we want.  If we can’t have a stress free life, we need to be able to manage it so we can avoid any of the harmful effects stress could have on our health.  You don’t have to do the same workout every time and it doesn’t have to be for the same duration every time.  Choose to be active 3-5 times a week and stick with itJ

4.       Set SMART goals: The Mayo Clinic staff wrote a great article about stress management.  One of their suggestions was setting SMART goals – Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-limited goals.  Whether your goal is stress management, weight loss or to compete in an athletic event, be SMART about setting your goals.  Click the link to read the whole article:

Have a great weekend!


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