Everyone experiences those beginning of the year stressors. It commences with the return to work following a relaxing time off and having an increased workload. Whether it be post-holiday blues, financial distress following the festive season or family issues, stress is experienced by most. Stress causes a release of hormones resulting in an increased heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, perspiration and energy production. Stress is an emotional response to a stimulus either acute or chronic challenging oneself however chronic stress increases the risk of developing secondary conditions such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety headaches, back and neck pain and difficulties sleeping.
The good news is, exercise is a great way to alleviate those stressors. Studies are revealing 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise has a calming effect on the body and mind lasting for several hours post-exercise. Exercise releases hormones to improve the way the body handles stress and acts as a “time-out” from one’s stressors. Exercise programs should be individualised to your current health/fitness status and aim to achieve your training goals.
As well as aerobic training, Tai Chi and yoga have also displayed stress-reducing properties post-exercise. That means, there’s an exercise to suit everyone whether that be training in groups vs. individually or moderately vigorous exercise vs. light exercise. It’s important to enjoy the exercise you choose to partake in, to gain motivation and successfully adhere to the activity. Studies show that the social interaction engaged in a group exercise class can assist in boosting self-esteem and improve mood.
If you would like more information on exercise prescription to assist in treating your stresses you can contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jackson, E. (2013). Stress Relief: The role of exercise in Stress Management. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal. 17(3), 14-19.
Contrada, R., & Baum, A. (2011). The handbook of stress science. New York, NY: Springer Pub.