Updated: Mar 11, 2019
I've been pretty open about my issues with anxiety over the years. I definitely blame stress and anxiety as one of the main causes for my hormones being a wreck some years ago (this in addition to my poor eating habits). One of the most helpful things that I did for myself was start an exercise regimen.
Stress is just flat out bad for us, I think we can all agree with that. But do you truly know why? When we suffer with long term stress and anxiety this causes an increase in the hormone cortisol. Excess cortisol can cause all kinds of problems for us like systemic inflammation, elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, weight gain, and issues with our menstrual and reproductive health.
Did you know that excess cortisol can actually prevent us from making enough Progesterone? This can lead to decreased fertility, issues with our menstrual cycle, and can push us towards Estrogen Dominance. Estrogen dominance has its own set of issues better left for another blog post.
So....the moral of that little hormone science lesson is to say that de-stressing is so important. Along with other self-care activities, exercise is so important. Let me first preface this list by saying that any exercise that helps you to relieve stress is an exercise that you should be doing. We are all different, what may relax you and help you to relieve stress may not work for someone else. However, this list is great for people just getting started who may not know what works best for their body and stress level.
Go for a Walk
Walking is probably one of the best exercises you can do for self care. It is easy to do with a lot of flexibility, doesn’t cost anything, and can be done alone or with others. It also has tremendous health benefits. If you have dogs, you can take them for a walk around the neighborhood or go hiking. You can walk alone during your morning break at work to de-stress, or walk in the evenings with your kids for some family time. Walking alone also helps you to really focus your thoughts and provide much needed private time.
Take a Yoga Class
Yoga is another really good exercise for self care and one of my favorites! It is often done in combination with mindfulness meditation and similar relaxation techniques. With yoga, you learn proper breathing techniques to relax your body and mind, and help to relieve your stress. Yoga can also be good for your physical fitness, helping to tone your body and improve your flexibility. You can either try yoga at home or take a class if you want to get out and learn from an instructor.
This is a fun activity that is good for your physical health and can be wonderful for your mental health as well. Workouts that incorporate dance, such as Zumba, offer great music, you can burn lots of calories, and also release endorphins at the same time. Going out dancing with friends can also be a nice form of exercise. It can also be a stress reliever to be out with loved ones in a social setting. There's just something about good music and working out that makes for a great stress reliever.
Try Unique Workouts
There are also some other unique ways to exercise, like going indoor rock climbing, heading to an indoor trampoline or bungee center, or taking a barre method class. These workouts provide the same good amount of exercise, but help you try new things at the same time.
Need more help with developing an exercise plan to meet your needs? Schedule a free strategy call with me here.