Has it been a stressful week? Even as an athletic personal trainer, I sometimes have stressful days. So what do I do when I feel the tension in my body? Like most I try to do things that relax me first, like walking my dog. Having fun with a pet is a great momentary distraction. But if that doesn’t work I don’t stress out, I workout! Martial arts surfing, and boxing are two of my favorite ways to reduce stress with exercise. Also, I like getting massages and stretching helps me too.
But I know some of you maybe asking, “How do I reduce stress with exercise when exercise and losing weight is what I’m stressed about?” If that’s you then I advise you to think differently and see exercise as the tool it is. Remember, the “Martinez Way” is to crawl before you walk gradually working your way up to where you want to be.
One of the things I highly recommend to reduce stress is interval training. Interval training includes activities like running, biking, walking, and swimming. Doing things like this with intensity for a short period of time and then easing off will definitely help ease stress.
If using a treadmill, set an incline, or if on an elliptical machine increase resistance for a little while then re-adjust. Doing this will give you a better workout.
Why does it work? Because when you exercise at high intensity chemicals or hormones known as endorphins are released into the body. These endorphins are what cause you to feel an extra “charge” or “boost”. Some may call it elation or exhilaration. You may have heard professional dancers and athletes express this feeling when they are in their “zone.”
On the more meditative end, Pilates, Yoga and similar exercises relieve tension from the body and relax the mind because they alternatively stretch and relax muscles. So not only are you reducing stress you are also strengthening muscles as you exercise.
Of course, you should not wait until you get stressed out to workout. Exercising regularly 2-3 times per week can help you physically and mentally cope with life’s stresses and anxieties. So before you “hit the roof” as we say, decide to hit the gym, do an outside workout, take a walk, or play with your dog.