Five Ways Exercise Helps You Cope with Difficult Life Changes

Go-joggingWhen you are going through stress, dysfunction, and difficult life changes, often the last thing you want to do is exercise. You’re probably already tired and your body is telling you that it wants comforting foods (foods usually full of fat and sugar), not that it wants to go for a jog. In this moments, sometimes the most beneficial thing you can do is ignore your food cravings and do something that you intellectually know will be better for your stress level and health, even if your body initially resists. Exercise has proven to be an excellent stress reduction tool, especially in the most trying times of your life. Here are five of the biggest benefits of exercising during a time of challenge.

  1. Exercise acts as a distraction. Even taking a simple walk around your neighborhood allows you a moment to do something besides just think about how stressed out you are. If you are just sitting at home, trying to wrestle with this challenge all the time, you are going to work your body up into a panic. Getting out of the house and doing something else—something that has absolutely nothing to do with your challenge, is often the best plan of action. Give yourself a moment to breathe. Leave the situation behind and just appreciate the fresh air. It is, of course, easier said than done, but if you put some music on your mp3 player and get moving, you might find yourself not focusing on the difficult situation for once.
  1. Exercise can be family time. If you have a stroller that is made for walking, this can be a great time to get the kids, even if they are very young, out of the house, into the sunlight, and doing something fun and healthy. Sometimes, when we are having a difficult time, we put our families on the back burner. While we may still keep up with our normal routines, we may not actually be putting an effort into showing those that love and support us that we appreciate that love and support. Getting everyone outside, doing something active together is a much better option than sitting around and stewing in your juices for days on end.
  2. Exercise is a highly personalized activity. By now, one of your friends or family members has likely said, “You need to do something for you.” As women, we are hardwired to take care of other people first and ourselves last. If you are going through one of life’s most challenging times, from a career change, to a divorce, to a death in the family, you really do need to take a moment and do something just for yourself, that has only selfish benefits. Even if you just walk on the treadmill for half an hour, every morning, you will feel happier and be better prepared to face what the day may bring.
  3. Exercise forces the body to deal with stress. Studies conducted by the American Psychological Association have found that consciously exercising, getting out and doing something active, strengthens the bond between mind and body. That bond, in turn, forces the body to deal with whatever stress is in the system. Many people are put off of exercising during a stressful time because they know that exercise actually puts more stress on the body—but it also kicks the body’s stress response into high gear, so it is better able to deal with not only the stress of the exercise, but any and all stress in the system.
  4. Exercise boosts mood and energy. It boosts the mood in the short term and boosts your energy in the long term—two things that you likely want more of during a stressful or sad time. The more you exercise, the more energetic you will be, as your metabolism revs up to meet the needs of the increased activity. Doing something active and for yourself is psychologically uplifting, but it can actually improve your physical mood indicators, especially if you go for a walk outside and catch some sunlight. Your body will produce Vitamin D, improving your immune system and serotonin, the hormone connected with a positive mood and energy.

Three Ways You Can Benefit From Exercise

If you want to do something very beneficial for natural stress relief that will also improve the quality of your life is a lasting way, then you need to make exercise an important part of your daily routine. Exercising has a long list of benefits.  Here are some that easily come to my mind: Less prone to illness.    Exercising helps you get in shape and it also helps you maintain a healthy body, which in turn wards of sickness and illnesses more effectively that an unhealthy body.  Exercise can help to reduce the incidence of common diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Reduce Stress and Depression.   Regular exercise triggers the release of endorphins in the body which give you e feeling of happiness and help to fight the symptoms of stress and depression. All it takes is 15-20 minutes of continuous exercise for the body to start releasing endorphins and feeling good. Increase Self Esteem and Self Confidence Exercise is a confidence booster.  The process of reshaping your body with exercise, and particularly resistance training, is an empowering feeling that helps to build self-esteem and self-confidence, which in turn flows over into all aspects of your life.

Exercise Anytime and Anywhere For Natural Stress Relief

If you want to experience natural stress relief, then there is no excuse for not exercising.  Fortunately, you can exercise anytime and anywhere for natural stress relief; at home, at work or where ever.  You don’t need really need any flashy equipment either.

Try Some Squats

An exercise can be as simple as some freestanding squats with no weights done in your office during working hours, to relieve the stress and tension that is so common at work nowadays.  All it takes is a few minutes to do the squats, and for best results you can do it a few times a day.  A few squats is good enough to stimulate blood flow, increase your heart rate, and stimulate a more relaxed feeling.

Try Some Push Ups

Okay, this is not for me.  But you can also get on the floor and do pushups.  All it takes is a few minutes, to reap the rewards of more upper body strength over time.

What’s the Point?

The point is, that just a few minutes of exercise can be very effective to helping your relieve stress and tension.  A few squats, or a few shoulder stretching exercises is all is takes to turn a bad day into a happier, more balanced one.