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I'm so busy, I don't have time to exercise

How many times have you said that to yourself? But, when it comes to managing stress, making time for physical activity is absolutely critical. There is possibly no other stress reduction technique that is as effective, or as important as physical exercise. Why?

Physical activity tackles stress at every level: its benefits are not just physical, but also emotional, intellectual and social - the whole gamut of potential areas of stress. A regular program of physical exercise:

strengthens your heart and lungs and build muscles so you are more resistant to fatigue, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and many other health conditions including high blood pressure, and perhaps even some cancers 

  • releases chemicals in your brain and body that are 'all-natural' mood enhancers, which increase your physical and mental energy levels
  • improves blood circulation to the brain and releases neurotransmitters that enhance your ability to concentrate, improve your memory, and help you stay calm and focused
  • provides options for recreation, opportunities for social interaction and the chance to engage in healthy competition with yourself and others - all of which can enhance your self-esteem, give you a sense of competence and mastery, and improve your outlook on life

Count the Benefits

Regular exercise can produce tremendous physical, emotional and cognitive benefits listed above within a few weeks or a couple of months. As fitness levels increase, and physical activity becomes part of your daily routine, you will find yourself more alert, and feel more alive. You will feel better able to cope with work and the day-to-day problems of life, and be less inclined to feel overwhelmed, frustrated and angry.

There is a strong link to suggest that people who exercise regularly experience less depression. Many also get to sleep more quickly - and sleep more soundly.
Of course, proper exercise can help you turn back the years for your body as well as for your outlook. It helps you burn off excess fat, tone up the muscles, and reduce the heart strain of carrying extra weight. Persistent exercise combined with good eating habits can help reduce the fatty tissue that accumulates in the arteries. This increases your cardiovascular capacity, making physical work seem less of an effort.

Your breathing, your posture, and even the glow on your skin can all be improved with a good fitness program!

Which Activities Suit Your Health Goals?

If you think you have felt listless, rundown or have been tense for too long, ask your doctor about the kinds of exercise that would best be suited for your physical condition and age. It is especially important to do this if you have heart, breathing or weight problems, or if there are other limiting factors such as high blood pressure. In fact, having a physical check-up before beginning regular exercise is a good idea for anyone.


There is evidence that suggests you don't have to knock yourself out to feel better - even 20 minutes of moderate exercise a couple of times a week can be beneficial to improve your health and well-being. Any regular activity or sport that requires sustained movement can reduce your risk and your stress, including:

  • walking
  • gardening
  • low impact sports
  • low-impact aerobics
  • bicycling
  • stretching, yoga or tai chi

Golfing, bowling, baseball, horseshoes, and even bird watching can provide a good deal of beneficial exercise. Activity at this level will probably not raise the heart rate to sustained aerobic levels, but it will give your muscles a workout. Also, the easier pace of these pursuits enable people to enjoy them for longer periods of time.


Contrary to popular belief, strenuous exercise is not the best way for the average person to lose weight. That's because most people can sustain regular exercise much longer at a moderate pace - and thus burn many more calories overall. Building up to a program of workouts lasting at least 45 minutes to an hour, four to five times a week, is generally the most effective exercise strategy for slimming down. Suitable activities include:

  • bicycling
  • brisk walking or alternating walking and jogging on a treadmill energetic dancing (not necessarily aerobic dancing)
  • stair-stepping
  • stationary cycling, elliptical training and cross-country skiing machines set at a low resistance level

Warm Up and Cool Off

Whether you exercise alone or with a group, in a field or at a club or community centre, make sure you warm up before peak activity then cool down afterwards. Before and after, take five to ten minutes to perform exercises that will stretch out your leg, arm and back muscles to loosen them up. Pay particular attention to your neck and shoulders. These short series of exercises can help prevent strains during your peak output and reduce the muscle soreness later.

Be Patient, Be Persistent

Getting into a fitness activity does not change your stress level. But staying with it will. That is why it is vital to pick a physical pursuit - or a group of them - that you can enjoy doing. Remember that you don't need to go through the exact same form of exercise three or four times a week. You can vary the workout by as much or as little as you like, but select exercises that can give the right total body workout to you.

The first few weeks of your program will be the most difficult for your muscles to accept. Start modestly with two sessions a week, three at the most. If you give your body two full days to rest up between days of heavy activity, chances are it will be able to handle the next round without sending you signals of distress and discouragement.

Your eventual goal is to make some form of exercise a habitual part of your daily routine. But don't try to do it all at once. Just be persistent. You will find your activities become easier to do and you will be able to increase their frequency. Be patient and persevere!

You can expect to see and feel almost immediate benefits from your efforts - in terms of reduced tension and greater alertness. Increased levels of physical energy and positive indications of weight control should become apparent within four to six weeks.

Source: shepellfgiservices


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