The Transformative Power of Exercise
Stress is an inevitable part of life, and it can be difficult to manage. With the increasing demands of work and personal life, it’s no wonder that stress levels are rising. However, there are effective ways to combat stress, and regular exercise is one of the best. Exercise helps to release endorphins, which are natural mood boosters that reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, exercise promotes better sleep, which is essential for mental and physical health.
When you experience stress, your body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, preparing you for a “fight or flight” response, which can be helpful in certain situations, however, when stress is chronic, high cortisol levels can overwhelm your body and have a negative effect on your health. The elevated levels may go as far as to suppress your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. Regular exercise can help to reduce the levels of cortisol in your body, which allows you to better manage stress and its effects.
Resistance training, such as weightlifting, calisthenics (using your own body weight), and the use of resistance machines, has been shown to be particularly effective in reducing stress levels. Resistance training can help to reduce the levels of cortisol in the body while simultaneously increasing the release of endorphins. In addition, resistance training can help to build muscle mass, which can contribute to an increase in metabolism and improved body composition.
Cardiovascular exercise is another effective tool in combatting the effects of stress. Activities like running, cycling, or swimming can help to release endorphins and boost your mood, whilst improving your cardiovascular health at the same time. Cardio exercise can also help to reduce cortisol levels in the body, making it another great way to relieve stress.
Combining both resistance training and cardio into your workout regimen will not only help to relieve the symptoms of stress, but it’s an excellent way to improve your overall health. Making regular physical activity a part of your routine can also help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Holistic exercises like yoga and Pilates have also been shown to effectively reduce stress levels. These types of exercises focus on mindfulness and deep breathing, which can help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. In addition, yoga and Pilates can help to improve mobility, flexibility, balance, and overall physical health, making them a great choice for those who are looking to manage stress and improve their overall well-being.
While exercise is a great stress reliever, it’s not the only solution. Other stress-reducing techniques include sauna and massage therapy. Saunas are a relaxing way to unwind after a tough workout or a long day at work. Infrared saunas, in particular, are effective at promoting relaxation by helping to balance your body’s cortisol levels. The heat generated by the sauna also helps to relax your muscles and relieve tension throughout the body, allowing you to de-stress.
Massage therapy is another effective tool in combating stress. Massages can help to lower stress levels and feelings of anxiety by reducing muscle tension. Several studies have indicated that massage can increase both serotonin and dopamine levels. These ”happy chemicals” reduce feelings of depression and promote positive feelings, including happiness and pleasure. Massage is also a fantastic way to improve your circulation and reduce inflammation.
For maximum stress relief, we recommend incorporating different types of exercise into your routine and adding post-workout relaxation treatments like sauna and massage therapy. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you stay calm, clear, and focused in everything you do.
At COACH London, we believe that mental well-being is just as important as physical health, which is why we have designed a space where members have access to all the tools they need to combat the effects of stress. Our fitness suite offers a range of equipment encouraging you to incorporate variety into your programme, and our class timetable includes both yoga and Pilates. To help boost your recovery our luxury changing rooms are equipped with infrared saunas, and our in-house medical practice offers a range of massage treatments.
Written by Gus Martin, Principal Coach.