Are you feeling stressed out and overwhelmed?
Are your thoughts racing, making it impossible to focus on one thing for very long?
If that’s you and you’re like most women that work hard and juggle multiple tasks, take a break from the grind and get your body moving!
Physical activity can help relieve stress in many ways. Not only does exercise release endorphins – those feel-good hormones that make you smile – but it also helps clear the mind by allowing the flow of creative juices to start up again. Plus, a little sweat can help you get back in control of your emotions and give you a sense of accomplishment.
In this blog post, I’m going to share with you the science behind why physical activity can help reduce stress, how you can get started, some common mistakes women make when trying to use physical activity for stress relief, and some creative ways you can fit in exercise even if you have a career and kids.
Let’s get started!
The Science Behind Exercise For Stress Relief
First, let’s look at the science behind why exercise can help reduce stress…
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which act as natural painkillers. This helps to improve your mood and overall sense of well-being. Endorphins also help you to focus better by suppressing the activity of the anterior cingulate cortex – an area in your brain that is associated with distraction and reactive thinking.
In addition to endorphins, exercise also increases the production of serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, appetite, and sleep. Low levels of serotonin are linked with depression and anxiety.
Getting Started With Using Exercise As Stress Relief
Now that we know the science behind how exercise can help reduce stress, let’s look at some tips on getting started.
1. Start Small
Don’t overdo it and try to do too much too soon. Start with low-intensity activities such as walking or stretching and slowly build up your fitness level over time. Health and physical activity is a long-term lifestyle commitment, not a short-term quick fix.
2. Change It Up
Avoid boredom by varying your routine. Try something new every week or two to keep yourself challenged and motivated. On the other hand, if you’re okay with routine, that’s fine too!
3. Schedule It In
Making physical activity part of your daily routine will help you stick with it and ensure it becomes a regular part of your life. Schedule your workouts ahead of time so that you can keep them consistent and make sure they become a priority.
4. Set Goals
Set realistic and achievable goals for yourself, such as running a 2K or doing yoga three times a week. This will give you something to work towards and help you stay motivated.
5. Make It Fun / Interesting
Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Find activities you enjoy doing, such as dancing or playing an outdoor sport with friends, so that you actually look forward to it!
Common Mistakes Women Make When Trying To Use Exercise For Stress Relief
Next, let’s look at some common mistakes women make when trying to use physical activity as a stress reliever.
1. Not Doing Enough
Exercise is not a one-time fix; it needs to be an ongoing part of your life if you want to reap the benefits for stress relief.
2. Doing Too Much
Don’t try to do too much in one session or you may find yourself more stressed out after your workout than before. You may also risk injuring yourself by over-exerting yourself.
3. Not Pushing Yourself
You need to challenge yourself with exercise in order for it to be effective. If you are not pushing yourself, you won’t get the full benefit of the stress-reducing effects of physical activity.
4. Not Being Consistent
Exercise needs to be done regularly in order for stress relief to occur. Try to make it part of your routine, even if you can only squeeze in 10 minutes here and there.
5. Not Scheduling Breaks
Make sure to schedule regular breaks during your exercise routine so that you don’t burn out. Taking a break can help you to stay focused and motivated.
How To Fit In Physical Activity With A Career and Kids?
One of the challenges that women face is finding time to fit in physical activity with a career and/or kids. Here are some tips for making it work:
1. Get Creative With Your Time
Take advantage of any spare time you have during the day to fit in some exercise – even if it’s just 10 minutes here and there of walking or doing jumping jacks. You can use your lunch break, the morning before work, or the time while the kids are napping.
2. Divide and Conquer
If you have a partner or a friend who is also trying to incorporate exercise into their lives, split your time with them so that one of you takes care of the children while the other exercises.
3. Take Turns With Chores
Make household chores a family affair by having everyone take turns with the different tasks. This will free up more time for you to do physical activities.
4. Make Exercise Fun For Everyone
Doing physical activities that are enjoyable for you and your kids is a great way to keep everyone active and engaged. Consider playing outdoor sports, going on hikes, or having dance parties at home.
5. Make Working Out A Priority
Fitting in physical activity can be a challenge but it’s important to make it a priority. Schedule your workouts ahead of time and don’t forget to block out some ‘me’ time for yourself. It’s essential for both mental and physical health!
So there you have it! I hope these tips help you make better use of physical activity for stress relief. Remember, exercise isn’t just a way to stay fit – it can also help you manage your stress levels and give you more energy throughout the day. So get active, have fun, and reap the rewards!
Happy exercising! 🙂