With stress awareness week upon us, we thought we'd write about what we know and how we can help with the situation. Stress can be a huge negative in the lives of many of us and it’s important to know where it can come from, and what you might find helpful in dealing with it.

Stress can come from anywhere, like your personal relationships, right the way through to your day to day activities and the experiences you’re facing at work. Everything and anything can be stressful for some people, so being able to manage this is really important.

Because people get stressed about different things for different reasons, there tends not to be a simple trick to fix everything all at once.

It is advised to try and separate your personal and work life and make sure that you are taking time for yourself daily. Studies also suggest that amongst these tips, physical activity can also be the cause of stress, as well as the solution. Here at exercise.co.uk, we want to tell you how.

Woman tired at exercise bike

Rather than going straight in with exercise and its benefits, it's crucial to explain what not exercising can do to your stress. This isn't just what you might think about exercise being good for us! Stress can often build on from hypothetical situations and a lack of doing a positive thing, rather than just the direct effect of a negative aspect.

Thinking about exercising alone can be a very stress-inducing part of life, especially when it comes down to the nitty-gritty. People often get caught up in how they can find the time to exercise, and how much it costs, and what they should be doing, and so on.

This in itself causes massive issues for thousands of us on a regular basis. It’s hard to force yourself to start doing something if you don’t have the right attitude or think you are not in the right place to start.

The important thing when you are looking at all of these aspects is to also look at how simplistic these issues are to solve if you have the right frame of mind.

If you want to start exercising more, it's always a good idea to make a plan of what your goals are and where you are starting from. This way, you can work out within reason what it is you want to achieve and in how long. Doing this makes your goals measurable. It also helps you focus on your own progress and the satisfaction you get from it, forgetting about all the reasons you can't be doing exercise.

Once you get the ball rolling, you should find your stress is eased off too. Make sure you don't over complicate your routine in and out of exercise and do what you can when it works for you.

Time Management

Woman checking watch

This idea of time management is always going to be a huge contributor or reliever of stress, so ideally, it's wise to be on the right side of your management.

It helps to have a plan of what you want to be doing and how you can fit it in around all of the other aspects of your life. Your own happiness and health should be one of your highest priorities, which is a concept that not many of us stick to as much as we should. The more you put off exercise though, the more time you are allowing for guilt and remorse to set in.

These are the easiest ways to begin a vicious cycle of a lack of activity, and really do damage to any progress you’ve already made, as well as your motivation and your mental state too!

Scientifically

Women high fiving during pushup

From a more chemically focused point of view, exercise also helps mentally deal with stress and other issues that can occur throughout our lives. The actual performing of the exercise you decide to do is a good way to get your body producing endorphins, which are the hormones that make you feel happy.

They are what gives you that feel good feeling after a hard day's work and will aid in building up your motivation so that you can form a habit of exercising and keep up the hard work. They also help you feel more confident and happier in yourself, even going as far as to be relieving some of the symptoms of depression or anxiety in smaller cases.

Comfort Zone

Woman walking dog

Stress can, as we said earlier, develop from the action of exercising too, but it doesn’t have to. People all over the world have been self-conscious in the gym at some point or another, but there are ways to help you fight this.

Gyms can be an intimidating place, especially if you are not comfortable exercising or if you’re unsure what equipment to use. So why not start exercising outside of the gym? You don’t have to become a bodybuilder to try and relieve some stress, but even playing a sport in your free time or playing with your children or your pets can be a good way to get started.

You can commute on a bicycle instead of using your car or you can start taking walks on weekends. Whatever makes you feel good! Any exercise is better than none.

Yoga

Woman sat cross legged

Finally, exercise doesn’t have to be an intense sprint or lifting huge weights. You can actually just help by practising yoga or Pilates for a build-up of strength and balance, and the mental aspects of these exercises can make the stress you're under a bit more bearable. Both long-term and short-term.

Your general attitude might change and you may find yourself more relaxed than you can remember being. Exercise is completely personal, and you are encouraged to do it in whatever way you prefer. It can in itself become a form of escapism from whatever is causing you to stress in the first place and help you prevent it in the future.

You may even find yourself making friends through your exercising who you can confide in or just talk to in order to help vocalise and rationalise your situation.

Plan

Exercise can be difficult to integrate into an already stressful lifestyle; a useful technique is to slowly ease into it with bitesize workouts to develop on. We’ve knocked up a stress reduction plan to help you gradually integrate exercise into your life.

We recommend doing them on a morning to help you tackle stress more effectively throughout the day, but wherever you can fit it in to work best with your schedule will work, too.

The idea of the workouts allows you to progress at your own pace, without having to put too much time into it if your schedule is already packed. We start with recommending a short 15-minute cardiovascular exercise routine into your mornings two to three times per week, consisting of whatever moves work best for you.

The best possible exercise to do for this would be burpees, however, it can be wiser to ease into the exercise with star jumps or jogging on the spot. This will raise your heart rate and get you ready for the day ahead. As you progress, increase the time and difficulty of your workout where possible, and make sure you're doing what works for you.

 

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Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.