Stress is a reality that we experience every day – it can have a positive and negative effect on our quality of life.
Prolonged stress can affect our health in many ways, causing difficulty with sleep or a persistent headache and if not dealt with, can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Thank goodness for exercise! Every which way you look at it, exercise acts as a stress reliever. The endorphins released when we exercise act as natural pain killers and improve our mood. Exercise also helps to lower our levels of cortisol stress hormones, so we feel calmer and more in control.
Well not quite! We all know that exercise does our bodies good and that’s really any type of exercise, from a walk, a swim or a jog to dancing, yoga, boxing or rock climbing! As long as you’re moving, a little exercise goes a long way towards stress relief and putting a spring back in your step.
The benefits of exercise on our stress levels build up over time, the longer we do it, the better we feel. If you’re in a stressful situation and need a ‘quick fix’, going for a walk can clear your head and reset your mind.
Here are 10 other ways to reduce stress quickly:
1. Breathe – take five slow, deep breaths
2. Listen to music – put on a belter and sing at the top of your lungs
3. Feel the sun on your face and listen to the birds – if the weather is obliging that day
4. Count backwards slowly – concentrate on something other than your stress
5. Stretch – stand up and work your shoulders, neck and back
6. Massage your hands or feet – a luscious hand cream or roll your feet on a golf ball
7. Snuggle a pet – that unconditional love can help after a difficult day
8. Chew gum – the chewing motion can lower cortisol levels
9. Have a giggle – laughter increases blood flow so find a funny video
10. Talk to a friend – share your feelings or vent your frustrations to a supporter
My favourite way to reduce stress is to dance. Dancing releases those happy chemicals to make me feel better. So if you can’t face the gym, a run or a swim, just crank up the tunes in the kitchen and move your body to relieve stress and ‘dance your cares away’! Dancing on your own is actually really beneficial as it removes the worry of what others will think of you, our brains are not trying to mirror anyone else.
It might not be possible to get rid of all the stresses of our daily lives but there are ways to cope with it and you’ll find that lots of Gemma Pearce Fitness friends are combatting stress during our classes, either online or face-to-face. Check out all the options at www.gemmapearcefitness.co.uk