Exercise for Stress Relief

Exercise for stress relief?  Yeah right!  Adding exercise will add to my stress – it’s “one more thing to do.” 

Ever said this?  I know I have, and I’ve studied the benefits of exercise, so I KNOW that it will actually reduce my stress levels.  But that’s easier to intellectually know than to actually do when stress levels are high and life is crazy busy.  I get it.

Since I find myself having busy weeks often these days, I’ve come up with a few methods to sneak in exercise, along with a plan for when I’m feeling very stressed that will help me feel calmer and ready to take on the world again.

  1. Yoga or pilates are always my stress relief go to.  They are perfect exercises for stress reduction, feel great and you can benefit from even 15 to 20 minutes.  In addition, you won’t get all hot and sweaty, so no need to add another shower to your day.  I’ve gone so far as to do a 10 to 20 minute pilates routine in the middle of the day on my office floor – without changing into workout clothing.  Is it ideal?  Nope.  Does it get the job done?  Yep.
  2. Walking outside.  There is just something about fresh air and a lovely environment that make you feel better about life.  A brisk walk is perfect for when life is crazy, and if you have a good friend, family or dog to walk with you are doing double duty with relationship building or pet care!  Take ten minutes before work, at lunch and after dinner and you’ve done 30 minutes.  Often when I drop a child off at a sports practice, I’ll walk the dog or walk with another mom around the soccer field or swimming pool instead of running home.

When life is super busy pick one (or both) of these options and just aim for a few minutes.  If you know you’ve got a crazy night, don’t wait until evening, get up 15 minutes earlier or take a 15 minute break at lunch or mid-afternoon.  Is 15 minutes a full workout?  No, but it’s 15 minutes more than you had before, right?  Plus often just that little amount will be enough to boost your mood and remind yourself that you are doing the best you can.  This will hopefully snowball into other “better” choices the rest of the day.

Can’t even spare 15 minutes?  Walk up and down the stairs for 5, or stretch for 5.  In other words, just do SOMETHING active every single day.  Your body and your mind will thank you.

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