Is it just us, or does it seem like there has been a little bit more to stress about around here? And stress comes with very real physical and emotional manifestations. Luckily, exercise is a very powerful tool to help manage stress and unpleasant symptoms.
If feelings of stress and overwhelm creep up during your day, lean on exercise. When you’re staring down a long to-do list, it is so easy to bump a workout for a task with a deadline. However, exercise can bring a lot of clarity to the rest of the day’s tasks. Also, research suggests that a short workout directly following a learning task helps the brain learn more efficiently.
Lowered sleep quality and quantity can create a vicious stress cycle; stress can lead to poor sleep, and poor sleep can lead to stress. Regular exercise has been correlated with better rest and more of it! Researchers are confident that the stress-busting benefits of exercise are an important factor.
Fewer Aches and Pains
A lesser-discussed symptom of stress? It physically hurts. Stress will often manifest as tight shoulders, an aching neck, a clenched jaw, or frequent headaches. The emotional and cognitive benefits of exercise are key for pain reduction. But working out can also physically disrupt this tension by getting oxygen to those knotted areas, breaking up lactic acid and relaxing these muscles. The result? Real pain relief.
Illness is extremely stressful. Certainly, exercise is an important aspect of preventing noncommunicable illnesses, like hypertensive heart disease. Whether chronic stress suppresses the immune system for contagious illnesses is an open question–sorry, no promises for any one particular virus. But stress does not help! And regular exercise cannot hurt, as long as you take precautions to stay germ-free and a physician approves.
Positive Changes Take Time
If you are building up to regular exercise, remember that it may take time to reach the point that exercise is a part of your stress management. The ultimate goal for a healthy lifestyle is 30 to 60-minute workouts, five days per week. However, this will take time to safely and reliably implement into your own life. Instead of jumping into the deep end and risking overwhelm fatigue, focus on doing just a little bit better this week than you did the week prior to sustainably build your fitness routine. The good news is that virtually every form of exercise appears to positively impact stress levels.
Now more than ever, we believe in the power of caring for your body. Initial research indicates that fitness centers taking safety measures pose little to no risk of COVID-19 transmission when compared with other public places. Keeping AAC clean and providing a safe place for all of our members to enjoy is our top priority.
We hope to see you at the Club, but we still urge you to take reasonable precautions to stay healthy. For your safety, please continue to wear your mask while inside the club, wipe down equipment before and after each use, wash your hands, and keep about six feet between yourself and fellow members. And don’t forget to refuel and recover after each workout!