Our TMR Ambassador Edward Apostol shares his experiences battling stress and explains how fitness gave him focus.
Can you relate? Tell us about your stress management by commenting below!
Stress comes and goes. I used to have a job that was a lot of work at time and at other times not much at all. The fact of the matter is that because I had a lot of responsibilities (3 varied jobs) my life was very complicated and trying to have a social life on top of that made it hard to have time for my health. I would end up with a rundown body. I couldn’t afford the time and I would be too mentally stressed out to work out and mentally focused on what I was doing. I had to break the cycle at some point, so when I went back to the gym last year I said, ‘That’s it! I’ve had it’. I can’t wake up in the morning and have it be too much effort for me to get up and out of bed. I’m going to give myself 30 days and commit to going to the gym and start regulating my schedule so that I knew exactly where I had to be at that time and I would commit myself one hundred percent to the task at hand. Once I started working out again, my body starting feeling better and my body started to rebound from its state of blah-ness faster. I can keep it under control now. My life is more regulated then before and the stress has gone down. Working out in the morning has been the best for me because it allows me to be more stress-free during the day and to be more focused. It allows me to get my physical stress out. Getting my stress out by pushing or pulling, doing squats or what not. Those things really, really help get the stress out every day. Having a fitness component in my life has helped me manage the stress that would otherwise have run my life.
Edward is not the only one of us that struggles with juggling multiple schedules and responsibilities. So what is it about hitting the gym that helps keep our stress levels down?
This blurb from the renowned Mayo Clinic explains exactly what happens in your body when you decide to sweat it out at the gym:
It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
It’s meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.
It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All this can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.