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Stress can take a toll on your body, and we all have had more than our share since the pandemic broke out. Between the health crisis, economic woes, political issues and social distress, there has been plenty to be stressed about over the past year or so.
There is something you can do to help yourself: exercise. Let’s look at how a fitness routine can aid your recovery while improving your physical and mental health.
Fitness Can Help Your Recovery
Can physical fitness play a role in stress recovery? According to the ADAA, the short answer is “yes.” There are a number of ways this can work. Exercise, when done properly, has been shown to reduce your chemical response to stress. That’s because it releases other chemicals into the brain, such as norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that moderates stress.
Exercise also releases endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that create a euphoric feeling, like a natural high. This is sometimes called “runner’s high.”
With research showing so many positives and few negatives, exercise is something you should consider adding to your lifestyle as soon as possible.
Improving Your Mental Health
Exercise has lots of mental health benefits for just about anyone. For example, Business Insider reports that aerobics can reduce depression, improve memory, and lift mood as well as protecting against the onset of senility.
Exercise is also a great way to build confidence, a necessary tool on the road to recovery. It enhances your well-being, physical health, and appearance. That, as well as many other factors, can boost mood and self-image.
Best Exercises for Beginners
What are the best exercises for someone beginning a fitness program? They vary from person to person, but it’s key to keep in mind a few things:
⦁ Always discuss exercises with your doctor first to make sure they are a good fit for your body and your health.
⦁ Be wary of starting out with any exercises that are very stressful or have a high risk of injury, such as crossfit, since getting hurt or overdoing it can set back your regimen.
⦁ Gadgetry makes it easy to track your progress. Consider adding a fitness tracker to your workout gear, like a Fitbit or ⦁ Oura. If you don’t like wearing a wristband or ring, you can simply add an app to your phone. My Fitness Pal and ⦁ Sworkit are a couple of popular options, and a ⦁ lightweight armband allows you to keep your phone with you throughout your workout.
Some good workout options include:
This has been linked to reduced depression and cravings and can help you have a positive mindset. Running allows you to set goals that you can accomplish to boost your sense of achievement, such as completing a 5K.
Practicing a martial art can help with discipline and provide a sense of accomplishment. You might want to start with something low impact, such as tai chi, which has plenty of physical benefits, according to Harvard Health.
Yoga is another choice because your practice encompasses physical fitness, relaxation, deep breathing, and meditation. All of those are very beneficial for people in recovery. It’s low impact as well, which lessens the risk of injury. Yoga also offers a number of mental health benefits of yoga, like reduced anxiety and improved mood.
Making Fitness A Habit
How do you make fitness a regular habit? It’s best to start small, with little goals that you can measure. For example, don’t just decide to exercise. Decide to power walk or jog for 20 minutes, 3 times a week. Sit down and work out those details every week. You can also ask a friend to work out with you or to be an accountability partner.
It also helps to look at fitness as an accomplishment rather than something you feel forced to do. That means making sure you select a fitness activity that you enjoy.
Physical fitness is great for your body and mind and can support you on your journey through stressful times. You owe it to yourself to get in the best shape possible.