About Me

I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Exercise for Stress Relief

One of the best ways to reduce stress is to exercise.  There are numerous studies to support this claim that come by the way of the Mayo Clinic, the C.D.C., and the American Heart Association just to name a few.  It does not matter what type of exercise that you choose to do as they all support stress reduction.

There are different types of stress, but all forms of stress can be a negative to your physical and mental parts of you.  You might be stressed out by having to meet a deadline, or stressed by a relationship, or feeling stress from needing money.  Whatever the reason is, you can help relieve it with exercise.

I have always said that the main reason that I have exercised my entire life was to feel better and relieve my stress.  Whether it was stress over emotions, or stress over meeting the needs of survival, I learned early on that I felt calmer and more relaxed if I got out and exercised. 

The reason that stress is relieved after exercise is that the body releases sedative like endorphins into the body when it is in a exercise state.  It is far better than reaching for alcohol or drugs as many people do to find stress relief.  You will not have the harmful effects with exercise as you do when you engage in using drugs or alcohol to numb yourself from the pain of your stress.  In fact, exercise gives you nothing but positive effects along with the reduction of stress.

Many times when we are stressed out, the last thing we feel like doing is exercising.  That is an unfortunate fact, but if you can remember how good you always feel following a workout, it may help you to begin to exercise when you are feeling stressed out.  Even if it is just to go outside for a walk, once you get going you will begin to feel better.

There is a saying, "Stress Kills".  This is so true, but before it kills you it will reek havoc in your body and in your mind.  Many people believe that stress creates disease of all kinds.  I am one of those people.  If you understand that your immune system is compromised by stress, then it only makes sense when you are stressed out a lot, your immune system will not be able to protect you from sickness and disease as it does when you are stress free.

It does not matter if you are doing an aerobic exercise like running, biking, or walking.  They all lower stress levels.  It does not matter if you are weight training, doing Pilates, or practicing Yoga, they all lower stress.  Moving your body with any form of exercise helps reduce stress.  Add in meditation and you will have the tools you need to manage your stress levels for life.

In many ways exercise is like active meditation.  I have always used my cardio for that purpose.  When I ride my bike, I am in a zone of active meditation.  Walking or running works the same for me in that regard.  Not only do I receive the benefits of stress reduction, I gain the positive results of active meditation.  I always feel great after any of these types of exercise sessions.

So remember when you are feeling stressed out, whether it be anxiety, anger, fear, or worry, exercise of any kind can help you to feel better.  At the same time you will be doing wonderful things for your body like fat reduction, oxygenating your blood, lowering blood pressure, reversing the aging process, lowering cholesterol, strengthening your body, and too many other positive things to mention.  Exercise is a win win any way that you look at it.

Practice using exercise to lower your stress level.  The reward will be how great you will feel, and the side effect of it will be that you will look fantastic! 

Till Monday,

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