One thing you’ll notice at BioFit Performance in Oviedo, FL, is that everyone is working on his or her own personal program. Not everyone needs to lose weight, or wants to gain bulging muscles, some people just want to feel better and have more energy. Exercise can help you do that. One of the best things it does is to bring down your stress level. People who choose exercises to relieve stress get extra benefits, like better health and a great looking body. Unlike some of the side effects from medications, they’re ones you’ll be glad to experience.
The stress response is necessary, but can also be counterproductive.
The fight or flight response to stress kept early man alive. Whether it was a wild animal or hostile tribe that provoked the fear, the body prepared to run or fight, increasing the chances of man’s survival. The sympathetic nervous system triggers changes, sending hormones as messengers to make the changes. Blood flows to the body’s extremities and away from processes that aren’t necessary for either running or fighting, like digestion. The heart beats faster. Breathing rate increases and blood pressure rises.
There are few instances today when the stress response is suitable.
If your boss is screaming at you, you may feel like running or fighting, but it’s not appropriate. Running isn’t appropriate if the wash machine broke, or you’re running late for work, but stress occurs and the response kicks into action. You’re left with your heart rate higher, blood pressure elevated and that sick to your stomach feeling. How do you get rid of it? One way is to follow through and run. Run up and down the stairs. Run down the block or just walk briskly for a while until you calm down. Why do you think pacing is so popular when people are under stress? People have learned it made them feel better.
Many active exercises can help, but so can some more subtle ones.
When you think of exercise, you think sweat and exertion, but there are some stress relievers that don’t require that. The gentle stretching of yoga can help, but the breathing exercises from yoga can help even more. Slowly take a deep breath in, pushing your stomach out to open the diaphragm. Hold. Then exhale as you mentally feel all muscles relaxing. Repeat about five times as you focus on your breath. Other Eastern relaxation techniques, like meditation, are also excellent for relaxation.
- Not only does exercise burn off hormones of stress, it triggers the creation of hormones that make you feel good, like dopamine and endorphins. These are Mother Nature’s natural pain killers, which could also help if you’re injured in an attack.
- Exercise is so effective, it’s now being used as adjunct therapy for anxiety, addiction and depression instead of medication. It only takes 45 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week to feel the difference.
- Any type of aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate up can be a stress buster. It can be something fun like playing basketball, hiking or kickboxing or as simple as doing calisthenics.
- Consider HIIT—high intensity interval training or circuit training. HIIT isn’t an exercise, but a method of doing any exercise. You modify the intensity, alternating intervals from high intensity to a recovery pace for an equal or longer time, then continue to repeat the process.
For more information, contact us today at BioFit Performance