I have been pondering stress over the last several weeks, especially the kind that leaves us either feeling frantic and running scared or the kind that tempts us to give in and give up. As an owner of a small “mom & pop” fitness studio, I experience my share of stress. It is quite a wild ride! In fact, I think managing the stress is one of the hardest parts of owning your own small business. It is much harder than I ever anticipated.
I often compare notes with my fellow small business owners, and they have the same sort of ride that I do. You go to bed at night riding high and feeling very successful; but you wake up the next morning feeling the sky is falling on you and you are one step away from ruin. I have come to believe that my experience owning and running a business is really the same journey we all ride in life. Stress is a part of life. It is how we deal with it that makes the difference.
Relieve stress with regular exercise. And build a stronger, healthier you! See why Strand Fitness is for you. Contact Pam to schedule your complimentary fitness consultation to get started. (firstname.lastname@example.org; 630-653-8152)
Stress is a part of life; you could say a necessary one
We need stress to stay alive. Our “stress” reaction to danger keeps us out of harm’s way. Our cardiovascular system relies on pressure (or stress) to circulate blood and oxygen through our bodies. Without that, we wouldn’t be able to breathe.
The stress between where we are and where we want to be causes us to set goals and move forward in life. To build a stronger and healthier body, we exercise and challenge our muscles. Without this kind of stress, we wouldn’t get stronger and more fit.
We need stress! But like many things in life, we need to learn to master the ride.
Read more about it: My Top 3 Lessons for Dealing with Stress
As we get older, our bodies handle stress differently
Two things happen in our bodies with respect to stress as we get older. The part of the brain that alerts us to stress and turns on our stress response systems doesn’t turn off as quickly as it used. As a result, the stress hormones that rev us up to take action keep flowing well after the stressor has exited the scene. When you combine this with the fact that it takes our “slightly older” bodies longer to clear the stress from our bodies, we find that stress takes a bigger toll on our systems.
Our health, not to mention our fitness efforts, is better served the more proactive we are in managing our stress. One key aspect is learning to take a break and schedule downtime so our bodies can adequately recover. Another, maybe less apparent, element is to be strategic in producing positive stress in our lives.
We can use fitness to manage stress in our lives
A great workout does wonders to burn off a stressful day. Many people find exerting themselves in a higher intensity workout helps them de-stress. Other find a low intensity workout, even a long bout of stretching, is their elixir to stress. Find yourself in a bad mood, take a walk or go for a swim.
If you are struggling with making exercise a priority, here is a mind shift for you. Instead of thinking about a workout as an additional, somewhat negotiable demand on your schedule, think of it as your “go to” (non-negotiable) strategy for proactively managing stress in your life.
In the short-term, exercise stimulates the production of “feel good” hormones in the body such as dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. You’ll feel better and less stressed after a workout. In the long-term, regular exercise helps balance and regulate your body’s levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline. You will be better able to respond to stress in your life.
The “stress” of exercise is a positive influence in other areas of life
There are two types of stress. Positive stress excites us to set a goal and motivates us to take positive steps to accomplish our goals. Negative stress depletes us and fills us with worry and concern. Negative stress, if left unmanaged, can ultimately be toxic to our bodies and our health.
Exercise, especially regular exercise, is an example of a positive stress. Exercise in and of itself builds health and strength. But its contribution to our lives goes beyond these rewards. To succeed at fitness is to master the art of self-discipline and accountability. It means pushing yourself sometimes when you don’t want to be pushed. Fitness requires patience and dedication to succeed. Results are sometimes slow to reveal themselves. And getting results may mean being clear on your priorities and learning to say”no.”
All of these are great life skills to learn. We are better versions of ourselves as a result.
Ready to be a stronger, healthier you?
See why Strand Fitness is for you!
Contact Pam to schedule your complimentary fitness consultation.
At Strand Fitness, we specialize in highly personalized programming for the “slightly older” body.
Strand Fitness is located in Downtown Wheaton, IL. We also serve Glen Ellyn, Winfield, Carol Stream and Chicago Western Suburbs.
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