Stress is inevitable and unavoidable. According to the Mental Health Foundation in the past year, 74% of people have felt so overwhelmed and stressed that they have been unable to cope. 51% of adults who felt stressed reported feeling depressed and 61% said they felt anxious.
How can you manage stress?
You can’t beat stress but with the right tools and mental attitude, you can manage it. One of the best ways to do this is to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. There are many ways to do this and you can make it as tough or easy as you want. Physical activity releases endorphins which are neurotransmitters that make you ‘feel good’ and gives you that post-workout ‘high’. Physical activity can also help to take your mind off your problems, the repetitive movements involved in exercise forces you to focus on your body rather than your mind. If you focus on the movements you are doing during exercise you can feel the same benefits as meditation. This can help you to feel calm and give you a sense of clarity meaning you feel more relaxed.
When you feel stressed it doesn’t only affect your brain but it also affects your body, so, if you make your body feel good it will reflect in your mental state. Scientists have found that if you partake in regular aerobic exercise you can decrease your levels of tension, improve your sleep, improve your self-esteem and just feel generally happier in yourself.
What can you do?
You don’t need to be attending HIIT classes every day to feel these benefits you can simply walk to work instead of getting the tube, ride a bike at the weekend, swim, dance, etc. There are many ways you can release tension and get moving, you just have to find the right way for you.
Attending exercise classes is a great way to alleviate stress since you will feel part of a community and you can get the benefits of doing a workout while making connections. This will help to motivate you to go to your classes since you may want to catch up with people you have met and you can all work towards a common goal.
So whether you’re a HIIT person or brisk walk person make sure you are taking time out of your day to really focus on doing some form of exercise. And see if you can notice any of the mental and physical benefits that come with it.