It’s no surprise that many of us have watched our stress levels rise along with the instability of the economy and rising food and fuel prices. Yes, uncertainty in many areas of the world along with job insecurity can leave us all feeling anxious and exhausted. Not to mention that the holiday pace stretches us beyond our normal stress levels even further.
When demands on your time and energy pick up pace it can be tempting to postpone your exercise program along with taking care of your body by eating a healthy diet. Why is it that we tend to abandon all that does our body good and keeps us sane when things begin to get the most stressful? In fact, this is the exact time that it’s most urgent to stick to your self-care program so that you can build emotional resilience, reduce feelings of stress and replenish your good humor.
The benefits of exercise can’t be overstated enough. Research has found that participation in regular physical activity is strongly linked to emotional resilience which is the ability to cope with challenges that life will continue to throw our way. When the going gets tough the energy that you put into your emotional and physical health pays double the dividends which will prevent chronic health problems in your future and help you cope more effectively with the challenges life presents.
Exercise increases resilience in many ways but here are just a few of the most powerful:
Improvements in mood: Exercise can provide a break from work and worry and leave you feeling more refreshed. I
Increased Energy: Even when a workout leaves you physically tired, you might still feel emotionally calm and energized.
Self Confidence: Most people find that they feel better about their body and appearance as they become stronger.
Better Health: You need your health to do all of the things you want to do and physical activity reduces aches and pains as well as the energy drain associated with disability.
Less Stress, Anxiety and Depression: Research has shown that regular exercise is as effective as medication for mild to moderate feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
Improvements in Quality of Life: Particularly older adults, who are likely to experience improvements in memory and other areas of cognitive function. Strength training also leads to better balance and stronger muscles.
Development of a Healthy Lifestyle: Participation in a regular exercise program indicates a person is making self-care a priority. This often spills over into other areas of life with a person taking interest in eating nutritious foods, quitting smoking and having a positive attitude about life.
Increased Focus on Fun and Friends:
People who consistently exercise create opportunities to spend time with people they enjoy and have fun because they feel good about themselves and life in general. Instead of letting the news media get into your head and bring you down and instead of letting work stress you out or the holiday’s bring you to your knees with lists of errands…..take a deep breath! Take control of something you can change (your health and self-image) instead of worrying about something that you can’t change. Clear your head and go for a walk or a jog, anything that will get your heart rate up and those endorphins pumping. Stick with your exercise program or get started on one. There really couldn’t be a better time to let exercise be your natural medication booster by lifting your spirits and keeping you healthy when things seem tough. Trust me, after your exercise things won’t seem so bad anymore and that positive attitude you gain from feeling good about yourself will translate directly back into your life in a positive way!