HOW WORKING OUT CAN REDUCE STRESS

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  • It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. 
  • It's meditation in motion.  As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.
  • It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. 

Let me tell YOU. . .Thursday was one of those DAYS. . .AHHH!  Not only challenging but one of those days where you lose who you are for about 5 minutes and hope no one see's it!  

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With a crazy day at work, my girl's schedule and planning for upcoming weekly events, I was overwhelmed and stressed. My heart started to race and I just wanted to shave my head and run off to some deserted island.  "That thought lasts about  a minute, but I have it! LOL!"

I don't like bringing stress to my family so I quickly grab my running shoes and head out the door.  For me, it calms me down and helps put the pieces to my many puzzles back together. After about 30 minutes or so, I am GOOD. . .really good.

In the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports, it was reported that triathletes who recently dealt with a "minor life event" or "hassle" (family, work, health or financial issue) were more prone to injuries than those under less stress.  Another study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that elite athletes were more likely to get hurt if they competed while angry, confused, fatigued, tense or depressed.  

In order to use running/working out as a stress reliever, here are a few tips to get your mind off of your stress and into the gym!

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First, you have to shift your train of thought before a run/workout.   When you start to think about what you are doing and how fast or slow you are doing it, it takes your mind off the stress.  Your central focus is shifted to starting an effective workout and finishing it.

Active stretching before a workout can help you relieve tension.  Warming up the body slowly puts you in a different state of mind.  Increased heart rate and lose muscle sets your body up for a good workout and redirects your focus from the stress.

Next, when you hit the road or even the gym don't take the hilliest route or pack on the heaviest weight.  Set yourself up for success.  Take it easy and focus on your pace, form and weight selection.  Get the most out of your workout and do not rush through it, especially when you are stressed.

Last, treat yourself to something that makes you just feel good inside! After a good workout have a little bite of chocolate, grab your favorite smoothie or go hang out with some great friends.  Don't take things too seriously because stressing over ANY situation will not help in the long run.

Control your thoughts, control your workout!