Exercise – The Stress Buster!
The holiday season is here and with it can come a lot of stress. We’re working, taking care of the kids, entertaining guests and trying to get ahead on our Christmas shopping. It can be overwhelming!
I love to hit the gym when I’m feeling the tension build up! I know it feels like the last thing you want to do when you’re running low on time and energy, but I’ve got five good reasons why exercise is the answer when it comes to beating stress!
1. A Healthy Distraction. Think of the gym as a mini-vacation. Make your workout space, whether it’s your local gym, the sidewalk outside of your house or a room in your basement, a stress-free zone. While you’re there, you can’t do anything to solve the problems you’ve temporarily left outside of its doors so don’t think about them. Take that moment to concentrate on the exercise you are performing. For a short moment in time, it’s all about you and your muscle!
2. Gain clarity. Studies have shown that exercise improves focus and decision-making capabilities. Working out stimulates your nervous system, causing the growth of capillaries in the brain, more connections between neurons and the development of new neurons in the part of the brain used for memory. As a result, we are better able to focus on tasks regardless of distractions and to make decisions that are appropriate to the situations we face.
3. Do something that makes you feel GOOD. We’ve all been conditioned to reach for things that are bad for us when we’re feeling stressed. The pleasure you get from a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate is only temporary, and, if it’s not in line with your fitness goals, will lead to guilt. Getting to the gym has lasting effects on your health, your confidence in your appearance and your strength that will help you through stressful situations in the future.
4. Feel more accomplished. Our to-do lists can be long and certainly frustrating when we can’t cross as many items off the list as we wish. When I’m feeling like I haven’t accomplished anything throughout the day, I know I can achieve something at the gym. That small victory is enough to lighten my mood and prepare me to conquer my list when I’m finished my workout!
5. Get better sleep. One of the worst side effects of stress is lack of sleep. This lack of sleep can intensify your stress making it even harder to get to sleep – not a healthy cycle. Exercise tires your body, allowing you to fall into a deeper, more sound sleep. When your awake, you’ll feel better rested and more capable of taking on your day!
So what are you waiting for? Get to the gym, take a walk or go for a bike ride. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you enjoy it. After all, the best stress reliever of all is fun!
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