Feeling stressed out? Burnt out? Run down? Is exercise the last thing you feel like doing right now?
Before you decide to grab that glass of wine, kick back on the couch and put your feet up, read on.
There is a growing body of research which supports the idea that exercise is a powerful stress reducer and stress reverser. The exact mechanics of how this occurs is complicated and ranges from the cellular level to the psychological level. Numerous studies have looked at the various pathways in the brain and the body and demonstrated that the effects are real, not just imagined. While it might seem contrary to the choices you feel like making when you are stressed, exercise has been proven to be more effective at reducing that stress than eating cake (or other treat), drinking alcohol and even medication in some instances.
That “feel-good” feeling you get after you’ve been to the gym or a out for walk or a run? Its real.
If we know exercise is a proven stress reducer then what type of exercise should we undertake? In considering this it’s important to understand that exercise itself can act as a stressor.
Do we always need to be constantly destroying ourselves with exercise? No not at all.
Should you add variety into your exercise routine? Absolutely.
Incorporating variety into your training is the best way to get the greatest fitness benefits, as well as ensuring you aren’t adding extra chronic stress by undertaking repetitive training over and over on the same energy and biomechanical systems.
Whilst not wanting to turn this article into a sales pitch, it is one of the things we love about CrossFit. For many people the very act of getting to the gym or coming up with their own home workout routine is difficult enough, without having to add to that the pressure of coming up with their own exercise plan. CrossFit is the perfect solution, providing intelligently designed variety in a nice convenient package so that all participants need to do is turn up.
Exercise. The perfect (and proven) pill for stress reduction.