We all have stress in our lives to some degree, how do you deal with stress in your life?
Work, finances, social commitments and family; areas of our lives that are often the source of pleasure, can also be a source of our pain.
In today’s world we are often overwhelmed with obligations, planned or unanticipated that lead to undesirable levels of stress. When this happens the body responses with a host of physiological reactions that can damage it. Not only do these events raise our blood pressure, but close to 1500 bio-chemical reactions occur within the body as well. These reactions are part of the fight-or-flight response we used in pre-historic times to protect ourselves from danger. Although those forms of danger no longer exist, the reaction, though unwarranted, still takes place resulting in the release of potentially harmful chemicals.
Although each individual will react differently to different situations, it’s safe to say that all will experience stress at some point in their life. As we encounter stressful situations our bodies will release harmful chemicals and over time begin to breakdown, resulting in illness. Learning to neutralize these effects can greatly enhance our health status.
That’s where exercise plays a huge role. While exercising we simulate the fight-or-flight response to a certain degree, allowing our bodies to become stronger through conditioning. This in turn allow our bodies to regain balance (homeostasis) faster thus reducing the level of impact or damage on the body. Exercising also helps to remove the by-products of this response from the body. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when choosing your stress reducing exercises/activities.
1) Choose exercises/activities that you enjoy, forcing yourself to do exercises/activities that you dislike will only create disenchantment and poor compliance.
2) Choose exercises/activities that are non-competitive in nature, for some people losing can be very stressful.
3) Combine aerobic and anaerobic exercises/activities. Aerobic activities done at a light to moderate steady pace for 30 to 60 minutes are an excellent form of stress reduction. Anaerobic or resistance training is a great way to maintain bone density and joint integrity in addition to stress reduction.
4) Aim for 3 to 5 sessions per week. Keep in mind you have chosen to be physically active to reduce stress, develop a healthier body and an promote an overall sense of well-being.
Its not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it. – Hans Selye