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How to feel good and sleep well every day

It’s fall. As your schedule fills and the pace of life picks up, do you have a plan for when you’ll exercise for stress relief?

I ask because if you don’t have a plan it may not get done, and next thing you know it will be January and you’ll be looking for a new diet or exercise program. Don’t do that this year!

Let this be the year you take care of yourself with exercise for stress relief. You’ll feel good, stay calm, and have abundant energy for the things that matter to you.

Why you should exercise for stress relief

  • You can reduce the odds you gain belly fat from stress. When you are stressed, a hormone called cortisol tells your liver to produce more glucose, and blocks insulin receptors to make sure your brain has enough glucose. When these conditions persist during chronic, ongoing stress, you store more fat in your abdomen. Regular exercise calms your body, enabling you to handle stress better with less activation of the hormones that can cause extra belly fat.
  • Exercise for stress relief gives an option to comforting yourself with high-calorie foods, alcohol, or drugs.
  • Growth factors produced during exercise support brain cells and nerve connections and may alleviate depression and anxiety. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2008-02933-000

Three Easy Ways to Exercise for Stress Relief

  • Jump rope. Check out this blog to learn more about the benefits of jumping rope: https://deborahrankinrd.com/a-workout-to -lose-belly-fat/   In his book Spark The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain https://www.amazon.com/Spark-Revolutionary-Science-Exercise-Brain/dp/0316113514   John Ratey tells about a client stressed out over a messy home remodel project who started drinking to cope. Ratey told her to start jumping rope every time she felt stress coming on. She stopped using wine to relieve stress and found even short bursts of jumping gave relief: “I feel like it reboots my brain.”
  • Walk around the block or the office parking lot after a difficult conversation. Breathe deeply, counting to four as you inhale and exhale.
  •  Get outside. Boost your exercise stress relief by working out in a park, forest, or alongside a peaceful body of water. https://youtu.be/X6Os5CHsvKs

Exercise for stress relief

Reward Yourself for Progress, Not Perfection

In 2016 I vowed to exercise three times a week and evaluated how I did in my personal practice of a year end review.

My Exercise for Stress Relief Report

In 2016 I exercised 115 times, an average of 2.2 times per week. 

Types of exercise?

  • Yoga 33
  • Bicycling 30. Miles per session ranged from 10 to 41 and averaged 17
  • Treadmill 30. Two miles followed by lifting weights
  • Hiking 7
  • Kayaking 5
  • Gardening or farm work 5
  • Pilates 3
  • Swimming 2
  • Shoveling snow 1. There was a lot of snow and it wore me out, so I counted it.
  • Cleaning house 1. This is an intense exercise that makes me break a sweat. It is so difficult I avoid it whenever possible.

I missed my goal, but did not feel bad considering other things I faced. In the spring I had to pack, move, and start a new job. In the fall I broke my foot and could not work out between Thanksgiving and New Years until a good friend and physical therapy assistant suggested Pilates.

Considering those challenges, I celebrated progress.

What Might Exercise for Stress Relief Do For You?

Would you like to get rid of muscle tension, sleep well, lose belly fat, improve your mood, or feel more energetic? It’s possible.

Always check with your physician and get medical approval before you begin or change your exercise practices.

©2022 Healthy Habits Communications LLC

8 thoughts on “How to feel good and sleep well every day”

  1. Very encouraging and motivational, Deb. I sprained my ankle but I’ve still been doing most of the stretches from my chiropractor, which I found out are mostly yoga poses!

  2. Good reminder Deborah. As injuries, aches and pains have piled up, it’s become increasingly harder for me to keep to a regular exercise routine. Your post encouraged me to recommit to the lifestyle.

    1. Deborah Rankin, RD

      Good for you Lee! You may need to modify your fitness routine to avoid further injuries but I’ve found fewer aches and pains when I exercise consistently.

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