As you get older, especially in your 40s and 50s, you might begin to realize that your body can’t handle as much stress as it used to. There are a lot of ways you could approach this issue, but one of the most effective, beneficial, and inexpensive ways to do it is exercise.
You probably already know that being active at this point in life is good for your health, but it’s even better for you when stress starts creeping up! The bottom line? Regular exercise reduces the negative effects of stress on your health.
Let’s review the concept stress, how it affects your health, and how staying fit plays a role in reducing stress.
What is stress, and how does it affect you?
Stress is a feeling of emotional tension, which is caused by a situation that makes you angry, nervous, or anxious. It is the body’s natural response to distress. Running late for that doctor’s appointment? You’re probably feeling stressed. When this happens, your body stays on edge and your mind can fixate on overwhelming thoughts of worry.
Stress can be acute, from short-lived events like heated arguments, work deadlines, traffic jams, etc. It can also be chronic from persistent occurrences such as job loss, mental abuse, physical abuse, etc.
A few different physical and mental health issues can arise from stress, some of which include:
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Skin conditions
- Heart diseases
- Low immune system
How does Fitness Lower Stress?
Having a fitness routine improves your overall health and your sense of well-being, which gets you through your daily affairs and activities. Aside from these, exercise also has some stress-relieving benefits… let’s explore them, shall we?
Improves your sleep
Struggling to get some sleep?
Regular exercise can help promote relaxation, by increasing the time spent in deep sleep! When you wake up, you are refreshed, and your overall health is impacted positively.
(Psst… need some help here? Our herbal sleep aid, Xr2, is a sleep-loving blend of valerian root, magnolia bark, and more. It helps you get to sleep and stay asleep, waking rested, refreshed, and de-stressed! Take a look here.)
Enhances cognitive function
Staying fit regularly can help increase blood flow to the brain, delivering oxygen and other nutrients to help boost your brain’s health. This positively results in improved cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, and problem-solving. What this means, to put it plainly, is that staying fit makes you smarter (more or less, right?).
Boosts your mood
Cardio exercises such as running or hiking, can trigger the production of the brain’s feel-good chemicals called endorphins and serotonin.
What do these chemicals have in common? They help you relax and put you in a better mood. These workouts also reduce the level of stress hormones known as cortisol and adrenaline.
When you are in your 40s and 50s, you may notice that your body is not as strong and active as it was during your 20s and 30s. Oh, the perks of growing! Fortunately, though, staying fit can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance.
What if you’re feeling lethargic from lack of motivation due to stress? Exercise sends oxygen and nutrients to your tissues, helping your cardiovascular system work optimally. When your heart and lungs are strong, you are more energized to tackle those daily chores!
Best Types of Fitness for Stress Relief
Are your stress levels getting too high? Don’t wait for it to take a negative toll on your health before acting. Start a fitness routine instead! It’s a powerful stress reliever.
Here are some of the best types of fitness to tame that tension:
Practicing yoga is a form of mobility training, which makes you more resilient and flexible, providing you with a big ol’ relief of physical tension. It also involves a lot of deep breathing and focus on oneself, which triggers the body’s relaxation response.
Yoga also appeals to different age groups, because of its many benefits, and how easy it is to do.
Pilates are exercises that highlight body awareness, core strength, and proper alignment.
It requires a lot of mental concentration, which leaves no mental space for worrying or stressing out. Also, Pilates is a good way to reduce back and neck pain, which could be caused by stress.
Also known as meditation in motion, Tai Chi offers a list of physical and mental benefits.
The mental health benefits include an improved self-esteem and confidence, a more positive outlook on life, and a general sense of well-being. People who practice Tai Chi also learn how to focus their attention, and this ability may help to relieve worry and tension.
Walking is one of the most accessible means of keeping fit, as it requires no equipment, just the movement of your legs. It helps to relieve muscle tension and reduces the risk of stress-related ailments including cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Moreover, taking outdoor walks helps you breathe in fresh air as you enjoy the beautiful scenery, which also helps in reducing stress.
Want some ideas for where to start? Explore this article to learn more about walking for stress relief.
Sometimes, all you need to do to get that much-needed relief is to go dancing! Aside from being a good workout routine which improves your agility and grace, it also lowers stress levels and boosts happiness. Consider taking ballroom or salsa dancing classes perhaps twice weekly and watch the positive changes take place.
Other stress-reducing fitness options
In addition to the types of fitness listed above, there are plenty of other stress-reducing fitness options for you to explore:
Team Sports: Sports such as volleyball, soccer, and basketball are team sports which can help to greatly reduce stress. This is because aside from the opportunity to engage in physical activity, you are also enjoying the benefits of social interaction and camaraderie. So rather than stress out, you are having fun and improving your well-being.
Bodyweight Workout: Back pain, neck pain, headache, and other forms of physical stress can be improved by engaging in exercises using your own body weight. Exercises such as push-ups, squats, and planks can also help to improve your posture and alleviate those physical stress symptoms. Learn more about some of the best bodyweight exercises to get you started!
Group Walks: Taking walks with a group of individuals while chatting, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company can be a great way to stay active, build your sense of community, and relieve stress.
Trail Hiking: Imagine the warm sunshine, or the cool breeze hitting your face nicely. Now picture experiencing these feelings while hiking with your friends and loved ones. Spending quality time outdoors socializing, can reduce stress, calm anxiety and reduce the risk of depression.
More lifestyle changes to further reduce stress
In addition to establishing a fitness routine to reduce stress, there are some lifestyle changes that might need to be made to avoid your efforts being counterproductive.
Get Enough Sleep: Getting enough rest is also a great way to relieve stress and tension. It also helps to recharge your body and mind.
Eat Healthy: Maintaining a balanced diet, and eating healthy meals like vegetables, fruits and tasty seafood like lobster will help to reduce your risk of illnesses and boost your immune system. When you are healthy, you become less stressed.
Prioritize Self-Care: Sometimes, all you need to de-stress is a good pamper session. Set aside at least one day every week for self-care activities such as spa days, pedicures, bubble baths, etc.
Practice Mindfulness: Deep breathing exercises and meditation are great ways to take care of your mental health and let go of stress.
In a Nutshell
In a nutshell, making fitness a habit is an excellent way to manage stress because of the positive effects it has on your body and mind. Working out consistently can significantly lessen the damage that ongoing stress causes.
So, start a fitness routine today, stay consistent at it, and watch all the stress fade away, one workout at a time. You’ve got this!
What if I don't got it?
Never fear! We all do better with a little support now and then. To support your healthy lifestyle changes, we recommend taking a look at our X Plus kit. It contains everything you need to kickstart your healthy changes, decrease stress, get back your energy, and even reset your gut health.
Really! Simple as pie, we promise.
Give your body the support it needs to help you feel better and try X Plus by logging into your account or contacting your Xyngular Distributor today!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.