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It is no secret that our lives are incredibly busy. We tend to jump from appointment to appointment, fetching kids, keeping up with work demands, juggling family time, health and social events. It’s no wonder why we all have a level of underlying stress that we have to keep in check as well. Stress can be a very harmful, and it’s been known to damage our bodies systems and affect our mental health. So how can one manage all these things, and still live life keeping those stress levels under wraps? Luckily for us, the healthiest and most enjoyable form of stress relief comes in the form of exercise. It’s as easy as getting your body moving and your muscles working.

Exercise has numerous benefits for the body and mind. It’s a sure fire way to increase our overall health, and if the body feels better, so does the mind. When we exercise, our blood is pumped throughout our body, and we produce a range of endorphins, which can act as a natural pain killer for aches, pains, and stiffness from sitting in chairs all day. Exercising helps to increase our energy levels, helps to fight chronic and acute diseases, and once the day is complete, exercise also helps us to sleep better and get a good night’s rest. In children, exercise has been known to help with improving concentration, mental awareness and overall improved mood. In adults exercise has been known to help with anxiety disorders, improve mental fitness and act as a natural mood enhancer, and therefore combat depression and stress related issues.

It’s no secret that exercise is a great way to relieve stress, but how do we go about achieving that stress free state through exercise? The first thing we have to do is choose a form of exercise that we love, and will make time for in our busy life style. It is important to stay motivated in your choice of exercise. So whether it’s getting up and going for a long walk, meeting friends for a game of tennis, training for a marathon or joining a spinning class, we need to enjoy our mode of training. If this is not the case it will be too easy to let it slip away when we are finding that time becomes hard to find. You can choose any form of exercise, whether its aerobic exercise (cardiovascular), resistance training (weights), functional training (exercise through daily movements with resistance), meditative or breathing exercises (Yoga or mediation).

Another reason that exercise is a positive form of stress release is the psychological aspects of letting go and being in the moment when you train. Studies have shown that exercise reduces the risks of a person becoming ill under times of stress. It is hard for most of us to shut down our thoughts during the day. Often people are doing one thing and thinking about something else that they have to sort out or get done. It is often said that exercise is a way to “clear one’s head”, giving us time away from the stresses of life to focus on ourselves. Exercise has been known to give people a goal to work towards. It creates a sense of achievement in areas outside of our normal daily habits. This has been seen to help improve self-esteem, confidence and a feeling of accomplishment. It has also been seen as a way for one to feel they have a sense of balance in their lives, and this can further reduce the perception of stress.

If you are feeling that adding exercise into your day is too much to handle, there are ways to get around giving 30 minutes to an hour of your day for training, yet still getting a bit of exercise. You do not have to do all your exercise in one go, it can be broken down into more manageable bite size sessions throughout the day. Do not feel that it has to be an “all or nothing” approach. Taking 3 x 10 minute walks in between the day will do you wonders. Taking the stairs is better than the elevator, including home chores into your routine, and add in some gardening on the weekends. It becomes a lot more manageable if you have disguised your exercise into your daily tasks, and before you know it, you will have completed 20-40 minutes of activities into your day.

So if you are worried that stress is starting to take over your life, rather look at introducing exercise into your weekly routine as opposed to other unhealthy forms of treatment. Exercise is the most natural form of stress release that you can provide your body. Consistency is important when starting an exercise program, keep it up for a few weeks and before you know it, you will feel all the physical, mental and emotional benefits that exercise has to offer. Choose an activity that you enjoy, this will help to keep you motivated, increase interest in the activity and even get you to plan ahead in your diary to make sure you get your training in. Give it a go, you have nothing to lose, besides the stress.