Power to Purge Stress

26 08 2011

Liz Gilchrist

That co-worker, you know the one. The one that is happy, hitting the gym after work, juggling work and home, not letting things get to them. How do they do it? While they may not have all the tools, they do have an advantage in that consistent physical activity is proven to reduce stress. While it is recommended that individuals get 300 minutes per week of physical activity, studies have shown that simply 20-30 minutes, 5-6 times per week will do the trick. So then you may ask, “So, what? Does stress really play a vital role in my well-being?”

Chronic stress has been linked to serious health problems including depression, diabetes, heart disease, hyperthyroidism and obesity. Not to mention that stress leads to sleepless nights and has the potential to exacerbate negative interactions with others.

For example, it’s been a rough day at work. You drive by the fitness center, think about how you should go, but don’t. You pick up your kids, head home and flip on the television before making dinner. Two hours go by, you no longer feeling like cooking so you speed to the drive through focused on the work you have for tomorrow. Your fuse is short, so when the kids are restless, you send them to bed and wrestle with your thoughts about the busy day ahead until you finally fall asleep.

While there are limited positive side effects of stress, there are tremendous rewards to minimizing stress in our lives. Through reducing stress you will reduce your chances of illness and disease. Increased blood flow to the brain allows you to think more clearly and complete tasks faster. As blood pumps through the brain, it also assists in maintaining clear pathways that cause foggy thinking with their toxins. Not to mention that exercise releases endorphins, a “feel good” hormone that can increase a person’s energy and elevate mood.

Now imagine a different scenario– a healthier and stress-free one. You have been hitting the fitness center for a few months consistently, walking around your neighborhood on the weekends, and engaging in family activities. Your evening may look more like this. Today you were on your game and left work on time. Your clothes are packed for the fitness center and you are making it through the door, no negotiating. You pick up your kids, prepare dinner and sit as a family. You worked up a sweat at the gym a few hours ago and now that your heart rate and body temperature have dropped, your body is telling your brain it’s time for bed. Sound too good to be true? Becoming “that co-worker” is only a workout away.

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One response

26 08 2011
Jennifer

This all makes such perfect sense. Just had a phone counseling session last night during which we said the “Weight Management Program” could be re-named the “Stress Management Program” because of identifying the major contribution stress has made to my overall weight problem.

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