Over 75 per cent of Australians reported feeling stressed over the past 12 months.
Unfortunately, it is often during these times of stress that regular exercise and a healthy diet fall apart.
I know when I’m stressed all I crave is chocolate and getting to the gym is the hardest thing in the world.
Impacts of stress
Stress not only affects our mental health but can present as a number of physical complaints such as a constant dry mouth, cracked lips, jaw pain and headaches due to jaw clenching, pale, clammy skin that is more prone to breakouts, heart burn, irritable bowl symptoms and increased sensitivity to chronic pain.
It can affect our productivity at work, our relationship with friends and family and can leave us feeling tired and irritable.
Benefits of Exercise!
Exercise may be the missing link in effective management of depression.
It helps to reduce stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol and stimulates the production of endorphins, which are responsible for that “exercise high” after a hard training session.
Just ten minutes of moderate to intense physical activity, like running, cycling or swimming can improve sleep quality and reduce the length of time it takes to fall asleep.
Yoga is another great option for beating your stress response, a regular practice can help with breathing more effectively, relaxes the mind and certain poses can assist in releasing tension in the upper body, which is where stress is commonly stored.
Strength training can be just as effective as running for getting that ‘feel good’ endorphin hit.
Plus people often report that weights are a good way for them to vent frustration, anger and other built up emotions.
1. Have a goal and make it SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time specific). I want to walk my dog, 3 times a week for 30 minutes.
2. Choose an activity you like, weights with friends, swimming laps in the pool, yoga or dance classes or team sports.
3.It doesn’t have to be planned, park a block away from the shops and walk, or go for a walk with a friend instead of catching up over coffee.
4. I find Child’s Pose also known as Balasana good for when I become stressed at home. Hold this position for a few minutes to help release tension in your shoulders.
5. It takes minimum of 21 days to form a new habit, so consistency is key- Start small just 10 minutes a day and work up to the recommended 150 minutes a week to get the greatest benefit!
6.If you are worried about injuries, seek help from a physiotherapist. Who can help develop a plan to suit your individual needs.
A big thank you to one of our local physiotherapist, Zach Bristow for helping with this weeks column.
Tell me how you are going to be more active!
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.