We hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was wonderful and restful. Our clients are always juggling their responsibilities and for some of you that becomes even more difficult during the holiday season. But constant stress has a negative impact on everything from your quality of life and your health and fitness goals to your immunity and mental health. The roller coaster of stress causes frequent spikes in blood pressure and vasoconstricting hormone secretion- this is bad news in terms of heart disease and hypertension.. Ongoing stress can also be incredibly disruptive to sleep. (And we’re always talking about how important sleep is to your health and fitness goals.) Research links stress to an increase in BMI due to stress’ interference in proper hormone regulation. Stress is also linked to a significant reduction in immunity. (You can read about exercise as an immunity booster here.)
Aside from these unhealthy physiological changes that occur during periods of prolonged stress there are mental and emotional repercussions as well. Constantly feeling under the gun or overwhelmed can lead to avoidant behaviors and a decreased interest in activities you used to enjoy like movie nights with friends, getting to the gym or preparing a nice meal. But fear not! There are both short term and long-term ways to manage stress and True 180 wants to be a part of that equation to help you live better. Here are 4 ways to use exercise to unleash the power of stress management:
1. Exercise as a mental antidote. Physical exertion can powerfully impact your neurochemistry. Our workouts can help counterbalance your nervous system’s stress response and overtime help mitigate the toll stress can take on your body. And it happens automatically without any extra effort on your part. Get to the gym, give it your best and your brain will take care of the rest.
2. Exercise as a superpower. Constant stress can often involve feelings of insecurity or discouragement. True 180 coaches will all tell you that one of the most rewarding aspects of our careers is helping clients see themselves as the strong, capable, great individuals that they are. We can build mental bridges between the gym and your life- maybe you’re dealing with an unreasonable boss or a particularly daunting engineering class. Successes in the gym, like a new weight for your floor press or learning how to Kettlebell swing, can give the confidence and gumption needed for success outside the gym.
3. Exercise as a safe haven. If nothing else we want your hour spend at True 180 to be fun! Yes of course you will get a great workout but it might also be few moments each day where can connect with people who are rooting for you no matter what. (Teamwork makes the dream work!) Having a space where you can escape the burdens of stress, even if only for an hour can help you take on the rest of your day.
4. Exercise as the first step in a multifaceted approach. Due to the alarming rate of chronic disease in the U.S. researchers are looking more closely at how stress and other environmental factors impact health. There are positive correlations with stress reduction when supplementing exercise with other stress management techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, meditation and forms of cognitive-behavior therapy. Find what works best for you.