Managing Stress Can Be a Powerful Mood Booster

by Tiffanie Grady-Gillespie, Certified Physical Trainer, CPT, WickedFiTT

Let me start this article with a question, “are you feeling stressed”?

What do work deadlines, traffic, paying bills, grocery lines, raising kids, and battling the bulge all have in common? While there are many suitable answers, one of the top common denominators is — say it with me out loud — STRESS!

In the United States, seven out of ten adults report feeling some type of stress daily.(1) Although people have different stressors, stress is something that once it starts to affect us, is often hard to stop. Stress points vary from individual to individual. Some people get stressed out over the littlest things, while others have a much higher breaking point.

Stress not only affects your brain, but with so many connections to your nerves, it can be felt throughout your body. We all know that stress can manifest in sadness, anger, exhaustion, mood swings, insomnia, poor eating, panic attacks, the list goes on and on. The key to helping to reduce or manage stress is linked with learning coping skills and raising the endorphins in your brain to counteract these feelings. While exercise has been found to be a great outlet for stress, others turn to meditation and music as other ways to manage stress.

So what type of exercise would you say is your go to? Although any form of exercise that allows you to escape stress and relax will work, there are several forms that have been found to be especially helpful. We all have our personal opinion, which one is right for you?

Strength Training – Strength training can have an amazing impact on stress levels and mood. Just like any form of exercise, strength training provides feel-good hormones. Lifting is so popular because of the satisfaction you can get from really pushing yourself, and subsequently, feeling and seeing yourself get stronger. Stronger is such a great feeling.

Cardiovascular Exercise – Participating in aerobic activities such as running, spinning, or even dance, offers the benefit of an increased heart rate. Zumba is super popular. When your heart rate goes up, your body will release an increased level of endorphins, which are natural opiates that allow you to “feel good”. These activities help you feel better both physically and mentally. HIIT workouts may be a good way to keep the workout quick and maximally effective for healthy weight management and time efficiency. WickedFiTT students will tell you HITT training is a big favorite.

Yoga – This type of exercise is considered a mind-body exercise, which can strengthen your bodies internal response to stress. Yoga often involves various poses with deep breathing, allowing you to learn to relax while strengthening your body and improving your posture. We are so fortunate to have some amazing Yoga instructors in our community. I have worked closely with Deborah McEvoy for years, and she is truly inspiring.

PS … A willingness to occasionally laugh at yourself can also serve as a good reminder to not take life so seriously. Laughter can do wonders for your decreasing your stress level. Just sayin’.

Please contact us at WickedFiTT for any additional stress management information. Find us online at wickedfitt.com.