Stressed? Hit the gym

The world we live in today is very hectic and stressful to say the least. Between company deadlines, school projects, extracurricular commitments, and family obligations, who isn’t stressed? I know I certainly have had my fair share through my academics, and I have yet to experience the stress that comes with a professional job. The problem with our society is how to directly deal with stress. Countless people have problems with this. Some are aggressive, some are self-destructive, and others are simply helpless: they’ll let the stress consume them until it is too late. I have seen examples of each in my life. The aggressive type becomes feisty and nasty towards those giving sympathy, while the self-destructive and passive types are doomed from the very start. So how do members of our society cope with stress? What is the answer to this problem?

For one, everyone has their own answer. It could be taking a quick power nap, indulging oneself with treats, reading a book, or even organizing one’s thoughts into a to-do list. Everyone has their own method to deal with stress, and I happen to be saved through exercise. Whether it is cardio on the treadmill or simply using free-weights to get that pump that I need, exercise helps to not only clear my mind but also alleviate my stress. I enter the gym with a mind full of worries, and I leave feeling much better and more determined to finish my tasks. The gym is a place everyone should look to when stressed since it benefits both your body and mind; other methods to cope with stress, such as treating oneself with dessert, may be good for the mind, but I highly doubt the body can also benefit. The only problem with exercise is that one needs to put aside time in his or her day for it, and many simply throw that theory away because they believe they can use that time to continue to work. Trust me, the time is definitely worth it.

According to the Mayo Clinic Staff, “Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever.” The same article goes to discuss how “you can make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management” no matter what physical shape you are in. Working out in general does more for your body than what one would expect. For example, endorphins, or the “brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters” are released, making you feel invincible after a great workout. I know I certainly look forward to that feeling. With that said, I have rarely had a negative experience from the gym (disregarding hurting something in the process). Exercise is basically working out every muscle in the body while giving your brain the rest it needs from all the demand it gets. In my personal experience, I really don’t know how I would be able to not get away from the demanding lifestyle of being a college student if it wasn’t for the gym.

Exercise has too many positive health benefits for people to not take advantage of it. Even just a mere 10 minutes on the elliptical or a couple sets of dumbbell exercises will ease the mind and lift one’s mood almost immediately. My workout regime during a stressful period depends on the amount of time I allow myself in the gym. All one really needs is around an hour, but if I have more time than that, I will go through my entire program for the day. That usually consists of a combination of dumbbell and barbell exercises, with cardio and abs towards the end of my workout. However, if crunched on time, I prefer cardio. Nothing feels better than a quick fifteen minute run, especially since my mind is refocused and ready to work. All in all, exercise, no matter to what extent, will help those looking for a stress-reliever. It’s something I have relied on in the past, and something I know I will continue to use, especially since the most stressful years of my life are only ahead of me.


Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469

1 thought on “Stressed? Hit the gym

  1. Nicole Avila

    According to Matthew Stults-Kolehmainen, Ph.D., a kinesiologist at the Yale Stress Center, exercise attacks stress in two ways: raising your heart rate can reverse any damage to the brain because stress can make you forget things. Also, exercise makes you smarter because it elevates your mood and you learn easier and faster. Therefore, I do agree with your post and you reassured me of what I already thought could’ve been true.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/21/exercise-reduces-stress-levels-anxiety-cortisol_n_3307325.html

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