One thing I learned in basic training besides learning how to keep a straight face and show no emotion while a drill sergeant ranted and raved in my face (with spittle at times) was that exercise is an ideal
torture trap venue for releasing your frustrations and stressors.
Mind you…basic was NOT easy. I went through in 1986. I was 17 so had youth on my side. I was able to kick some serious a$$ with my new found attitude and body. Now, as the years rolled on by and once I was off of active duty I found myself wishing I had that hard body and extra stamina to deal with today’s stressors.
Now without sounding whiny….I realize that at my age I need to continue living a healthy lifestyle…which includes the food and drink I put in my mouth. Nothing beats a bummer of a day than chocolate. I love it, could live for it. I love my hot cup of delicious cocoa at night before bedtime—just part of this lady’s routine.
Slowly through the years…(I can be dense)…I realized the best thing (though cannot beat chocolate by a LONG shot)….is exercise. Exercise released a myriad of endorphins and gives you an extra zing….though I can be jack tired after spending all day dealing with cases I find after a good solid workout I do have some extra pep.
Regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, is one of the best ways to reduce stress. This type of exercise can:
- Strengthen your heart and lungs
- Help you control your weight
- Improve physical appearance
- Enhance self-confidence and self-esteem
- Elevate your mood and help ward off depression
- Improve the quality of your sleep
- Reduce stress reactivity
- Improve your ability to concentrate
Aerobic exercise produces and sustains cardiovascular elevation for 15 to 30 minutes, three to four times a week. For optimal fitness and stress management, 20 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise three to five times per week is recommended. Examples of aerobic exercise include brisk walking, running, swimming, in-line skating, biking, and cross-country skiing.
If you’re 35 or older, or have heart problems, high blood pressure, or other medical conditions, you should seek your healthcare provider’s approval before beginning an exercise program.
Starting and sticking to a regular exercise program can be a challenge. Here are some things you can do to avoid becoming a fitness program dropout:
- Find out what works for you and make it fun. What would be the most enjoyable type of exercise for you? Do you enjoy competitive sports? Walking with a friend? In-line skating? Using exercise equipment? Do you have more fun exercising with a friend, a group, or by yourself? Do you like to listen to music while you exercise?
- If you haven’t been exercising regularly, start slowly. Try 10 to 15 minutes of aerobic exercise twice a week and increase from there.
- Plan for your workouts and make them a priority by scheduling them in your calendar.
- Consider finding a workout partner or role model who can help keep you motivated.
- If you miss a few days of exercise, don’t quit! Just go back to your routine and eventually it will become a habit.
The article, Reducing stress through exercise by Annie Cruzan states that: All stress doesn’t have to be bad or have a negative impact on the body. Certainly, our attitudes and perceptions of situations have a huge impact on how we deal with stress, and research has shown that individuals who exercise on a regular basis handle stress better.
The body’s normal response to a life-threatening or even challenging circumstance is to go into a stress- responding mode. Changes take place within the body that allow for an increase in heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and production of hormones that enable us to “fight or take flight.” However, many times we have stress develop in our lives simply because of changes that occur. How we respond to these changes will, in part, determine how much of an impact stress has on us.
Another important factor of how we handle stress is our physical health, particularly our level of physical conditioning. Studies have concluded that exercise is one positive way to cope with stress. Physically active or fit individuals tend to have fewer stress-related health problems and are likely to have fewer symptoms of depression.
SO in inclusion, after much thought I feel I am on the right track towards leading a more productive and healthy lifestyle, living for me, my quality of life is improving and I’m starting not to look too bad in my new xmas present exercise outfits….. ;^)