By Ana Cabán.
We are constantly scattered in a million different directions. With decisions to make, obligations to uphold, and “to do” lists to contend with, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. No matter who we are, or where we go, our daily life can easily chip away at our mental sanity. The good news is that exercise is a great way to combat stress and maintain your sanity.
Now if you’re thinking, “Ugh, I don’t like to exercise,” or “I just don’t have the time,” you are not alone. We are all busy building our careers, taking care of our families and being all things to people. So how can we make time for exercise? Well first, let’s start with “why”.
Stress is all around us. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, seven out of 10 adults in the United States experience stress or anxiety. Most say this interferes in their lives, at least moderately. While we can’t avoid stress, we can learn how to manage it. Exercise is a great way to do that.
According to Thomas Plante, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Santa Clara University in California, “Exercise helps you get your mind off your problems and clears your head.” Not only that, exercise boosts physical wellbeing, combats depression and releases endorphins (or “happy” chemicals) in your body, that improve mood, as well as the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. The best part is that it doesn’t take long to reap the rewards of a good moderate intensity workout. A study at the University of Vermont noted that as little as 20 minutes of exercise can improve mood for up to 12 hours.
Exercise is not limited to going to a gym. There are now so many types of exercise that it is almost as though the sky is the limit. You can take a fun fitness or dance class or go hiking with a friend. My personal favorite is doing Pilates, which balances the mind and the body, in a safe, non-impact workout.
If you need some motivation, or aren’t quite sure where to start, you might want to explore something like the Daily Burn app (www.DailyBurn.com) which gives you access to hundreds of workouts that you can do anywhere, all from your personal device.
Let’s get you moving right now with the Pilates “Hundred” exercise, which connects your body to your breath, energizing your body, and centering your mind. Get started now on improving your fitness and mood, all while managing stress!
Lie on your back, arms by your side.
Extend legs up to the sky and lower to a challenging angle, while keeping entire mat on the mat/floor.
Curl your head and shoulders off of the mat, and gaze into your abdominals.
Begin pumping your arms by your sides, as you inhale for five counts/pumps of the arms, and exhale for five counts/pumps of the arms.
Continue for a total of 10 breaths, while keeping your abdominals engaged.
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