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April 8, 2014

Sweat It Out- Beating Stress through Exercise

by: Kaleena Ruskin

A recent survey of 2,500 adults by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health found that 49% of people had a major stressful event occur within the year. Majority of stresses came from their financial situation, work problems, too many responsibilities overall, and poor health. While there is such a thing as healthy stress, how does negative stress affect your overall health? There are long lists of physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms or problems that can arise from stress including but not limited to: depression, anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, frequent illness, headaches, low energy, loss or gain of appetite, increase in drug or alcohol consumption, and acne.

NPR’s study also found that the top responses to stress where less sleep, eating less (loss of appetite), and exercising or playing sports less. Now, let’s focus on these things for a minute: less sleep, less exercise, and poor dietary changes? These three are a recipe for disaster! It’s easy to eat poorly when you’re stressed and tired because you don’t have any energy to cook, it’s hard to find the motivation to exercise when you’re feeling lethargic, and it’s extremely difficult to catch up on sleep when you can’t fall asleep. It’s a vicious cycle that we wrestle with day in and day out. However, we can beat the cycle and win this daily battle!

In my opinion, the best way to combat stress is by sweating it out: exercising. Exercising causes our brains to produce hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are like magical jelly beans, not a scientific term, that can reduce our perception of pain (stress) and make us feel happy. They can even give us a sense of euphoria. This feeling of happiness starts a chain reaction that makes us feel motivated and alert. We’re also more inclined to eat healthier after working out, seeing as we don’t want to feel all that sweat went to waste. The physical demands you place on your body during you workout cause you to fatigue and relax your muscle. This fatigue isn’t just physical; it’s mental as well. So, now when you go to bed, your body and mind are so tired that you actually FALL ASLEEP. By simply exercising, we’ve just knocked out some major factors contributing to stress and increasing our overall health!

At Gymnazo, coaches and staff strive to create a friendly, positive, and motivational environment so that you can enjoy yourself during your workout. We are here to serve you! We hope to provide you with the inspiration and motivation to get through your workout, so that when you leave the gym drenched in sweat you feel a sense of pride and accomplishment that makes all of life’s stresses seem a little less stressful. Let’s do away with the phrase “Don’t sweat it” and replace it with, “Definitely sweat it: Sweat it out.”

Additional Research:

  • Huffington Post, Study: 8 out of 10 American Are Stressed, by Madison Park

NPR, Stressed Out: Americans Tell Us About Stress in Their Lives, by Scott Hensley and Alyson Hurt

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