You’ve probably heard it countless of times before — you can get a lot of benefits from exercising, and one of these benefits is reduced stress. However, if you and millions of other people know the beneficial effects of exercise, then why are there still so many people who are stressed out, dealing with fatigue, and are developing all sorts of diseases? We know the solution (exercise), so why are we still where we are now? It’s simple. We know what’s good for us and what we’re supposed to do, but we choose not to do it.
You won’t find the experts disagreeing on this statement: Exercising is the best way you can manage stress. This is pure, simple fact. Many studies have been conducted to prove that exercise helps to relax the mind and body, improve cardiovascular system, burn fat, bring more oxygen into the body, lower risk of developing diseases, reduce blood pressure… the list goes on.
What Happens During Stress
When your body is experiencing stress, many chemical reactions happen in anticipation to the “fight or flight” response. In prehistoric times, man either responded to stress (e.g., an animal attacking) by either running away from it or fighting it in order to survive. Today, however, we’re bombarded by different kinds of stress, and while we don’t need to fight off a tiger or a bear, we can’t right off the bat burn off our stress or negative emotions. Many of us tend to bottle up these emotions, and doing so creates a host of physical, mental, and emotional problems.
If you find yourself irritable, worried, anxious, depressed, hostile, angry, or frustrated, turn to exercise. You can use exercising to let out these negative emotions. Whack that ball as hard as you can with your tennis racket, run a few extra laps around the track if it will help you feel better, or perhaps hit that punching bag a wee bit harder this time. When you exercise, you allow your body to take control of that fight or flight response and regain its balance.
Exercise has also been found to improve a person’s self-esteem. If you’re more energetic and looking more fit, you’re more confident to face people and be in a more social situation. You know you look good so you have more confidence in yourself. Read this post here to find out some other great reasons of why you should exercise.
Anaerobic Exercise versus Aerobic Exercise
Walking, swimming, running, and cycling are considered forms of aerobic exercise. They all use the major muscle groups. Aerobic exercise promotes a stronger cardiovascular system. It does this by increasing your heart rate and bringing more oxygen into your body. In order for you to maximize the benefits that can be had from aerobic exercise, make sure you exercise at 60% to 80% of your target heart rate for 20 minutes or more. Do this three to five times per week.
So what’s your target heart rate? To compute for your target heart rate, subtract your age from 220 and multiply the result by .6 or .7 (60% or 70% intensity). The resulting figure is your target heart rate per minute. Divide that by 6 to find out your 10-second pulse count.
If you want to lose weight, you’ll want to do aerobic exercise because it burns the calories. Make sure you stick to a healthy diet and you’ve got a recipe for success. A pound of body fat is the equivalent of 3,500 calories. So in order to lose a pound, you need to burn at least 3,500 calories.
Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, promotes muscle strength and power. There are two kinds of anaerobic exercise: isotonic and isometric exercise.
Isotonic exercise makes use of your muscles to contract against an object by way of movement. Another name for isotonic exercise is resistance training or strength training. Weight lifting is a form of isotonic exercise. Isotonic exercises promote stronger bones and muscles. It also promoted better tone, prevents injuries, and shapes and sculpts the muscles. Isometric exercise, on the other hand, is the opposite of isotonic: it involves contracting the muscles against resistance minus the movement. An example of isometric exercise is lifting a dumbbell and holding it in a position. You’re essentially isolating a particular muscle.
To maximize your strength and build muscles that are strong, lean, and healthy, do both isotonic and isometric exercises.
Perform exercises you like and you can do for a minimum of 20 minutes for at least 3 time a week. Five times a week of exercising is recommended. You don’t necessarily have to hit the gym each time. Exercising can simply be walking around the block or dancing for half an hour. The key here is to make sure you’re active.
If you’re just starting out, make a commitment to exercise for 21 straight days. Twenty-one days is how many days, according to research, it will take you to get into a habit of doing something. So try exercising for 21 days. At the end of 21 days, see how you feel. In terms of your stress levels, how stressed do you feel. Your stress levels are most likely to be lower. You’ll also feel like you have more energy than ever before, and you’ll notice a change, no matter how slight it is, in how you look.