Posted 15 February 2022
It’s common knowledge nowadays that exercise – be it cardio, aerobics, or Pilates – can work wonders for your physical and mental health. But did you know that exercising can also help combat stress?
When we’re stressed, we often leave ourselves with very little else to think about. Our world starts to revolve around whatever is stressing us. While this is understandable, it’s important to continue to look after your body well even when stressed. Maintaining a fitness routine during stressful times may seem like a mammoth task; or, at least, an unimportant one in the greater scheme of things.
However, exercising and maintaining your workout routine during stressful times can actually help you better manage that stress, as well as ensure your body is healthy during stressful periods.
Here’s how to maintain a fitness routine during stressful times.
The first thing you should do is to make sure you include your fitness routine as part of your everyday life. If you simply tell yourself not to exercise during a stressful period, it will become incredibly hard for you to stick with that decision.
By including exercise as part of your daily routine, not only do you ensure that it becomes a natural part of your days – which also makes sticking with it easier – but also ensures that you’re doing something positive for your body each day. This makes it much less likely that stress will have an impact on the health and wellness of your mind or body.
When we feel stressed, our instinct can be to stay away from our regular Pilates classes and exercise in general, because we assume that it may be too difficult to motivate ourselves. But this isn’t true. Maintaining a fitness routine during stressful times is something everyone can do by starting small.
If you’re not used to exercising every day or going to a Pilates class more than once a week, for example, start out by working out just three or four times a week instead of five or six days. This will help your body get gradually accustomed to the demands of regular exercise, which in turn makes sticking with your workouts easier – especially when the going gets tough emotionally.
If you exercise regularly, one of the best ways to maintain a fitness routine during stressful times is by exploring different forms of exercise. Doing so will not only ensure that your workout sessions remain as interesting as possible (and therefore less boring), it also means that you’re exposing yourself to lots of new things and learning new skills. This, in turn, helps you grow as an individual and reduces stress levels along the way.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that act as natural painkillers and mood boosters. They also increase brain neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which create feelings of happiness and wellbeing.
Exercise is also a great distraction from daily stressors! It forces us to focus on something else – our workout – rather than the things stressing us out. This means that not only are we distracting ourselves from the cause of our stress, but also making positive changes to how our bodies are feeling during stressful times.
Pilates is a great workout for when you are stressed because it incorporates both physical and mental health benefits. Not only does it work on strength, balance, flexibility and posture – all of which can suffer during stressful times – but also on breathing exercises that relax the mind and body, while helping to clear your head.
This enables you to better manage stress levels, while simultaneously making sure your body (and health) is in good shape throughout stressful periods.