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The “S” word – stress often creeps into our lives like an unwelcome guest.  It’s awful as it disrupts our peace of mind and makes us feel low, anxious or depressed. However a simple antidote exists and that’s exercise! We’ve all heard about how exercise can bust stress but many of us write it off as being ‘too good to be true’.  Or relying on the old trope that we don’t have the time or energy. While it might feel like the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling stressed, if you keep an open mind and give it a go, you’ll be surprised at just how much difference it can make. 


Understanding Stress and Exercise

Stress triggers the release of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that can wreak havoc on our mental and physical wellbeing. Yet, by engaging in physical activity, our brains churn out endorphins – these are chemicals that combat cortisol. They do so by lifting our mood and melting stress away. Sticking to a regular exercise routine can regulate our sleep patterns, meaning we wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.


Incorporating Exercise into Your Routine

How do we make exercise a part of our daily lives if you’re a total newbie? The answer lies in simplicity and consistency. Seek out activities that bring you joy. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood, a yoga session in your living room. Or a game of catch with your dog in the park. The key is to find something that you genuinely enjoy, making it easier to stick with it in the long run. Starting small is perfectly acceptable. Even just a few minutes of stretching or a brisk walk around the block can make a world of difference. Remember, it’s not about achieving perfection or hitting specific targets; it’s about nurturing your body and soul through movement.


Discovering Your Exercise Style

When it comes to exercise, there’s no approach that will suit everyone. You might sign up to a gym like Fitness 19 and enjoy using equipment. Whereas the next person might enjoy exercising outdoors more. What works for one person may not resonate with another. Some will like structure, others will like flexibility. That’s why it’s essential to explore different activities and find what feels right for you. Maybe you thrive in a group setting, feeding off the energy of others in a fitness class or team sport. Or perhaps you prefer the solitude and introspection of a solo activity like swimming or running. There are endless possibilities to explore, from high-intensity interval training to gentle stretching routines. Don’t be afraid to experiment and step out of your comfort zone.


Creating a Habit

Incorporating exercise into your routine isn’t always easy, especially when life gets busy. But like any habit, consistency is key. Set realistic goals and create a schedule that works for you. Whether it’s dedicating a certain time each day to exercise or fitting in quick workouts whenever you can. Find a rhythm that you can maintain over the long term. Progress takes time, so be patient with yourself. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and don’t get discouraged by setbacks.

Now get going and beat that stress back!

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