Before you start any program to improve your health you must learn to manage your stress to get fitness right.
Stress…even the word makes our muscles tighten and a bunch of chemical reactions happening in our bodies if we need to fight or flight.
So, let’s talk about how to manage your stress to get fitness right. It’s just another hill to walk up, on the way to being fit and in good health.
Some people say that humans are built to handle a certain type of stress.
I mean, really, we’ve all experienced those heart-pounding moments where time slows down, the adrenaline surges, and you make your move.
Twenty thousand years ago, stress would have been reported as a stare down with a mountain lion or a rival tribesman, or maybe a branch breaking while climbing a tall tree to gather some eggs or steal some honey.
Either way, the stress response system was built to deal with infrequent, acute, highly stressful situations.
➡ But these days…stress comes at us disguised as the drive to and from work through rush hour traffic.
➡ Stress assaults you when you have the 19th fight of the month with your spouse over the bills.
➡ And of course, it attacks when you think about the tenth straight week of overtime you’ve had to work to pay those bills.
But we’re still trying to handle it with outdated responses that can’t tell the difference between chronic and acute stress.
To our adrenal system, being stuck in traffic is the same as looking at a tiger preparing to attack you.
On a cellular level, both events trigger the same responses inside of you: The adrenaline surge, the pounding heart, the sweaty palms, the heightened senses and awareness of everything around you.
In a “life-or-death” situation, this stress response can literally save your life.
However, if the stress is prolonged over a 2-hour commute, the stress response will harm you.
Unfortunately, that type of stress can’t always be avoided, but it can be managed. Here’s how to manage your stress to get fitness right.
Avoiding the obvious, sources of stress helps
➡ Choosing the right kinds of foods we’ve been discussing (i.e. lean meat, fish, fowl, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds)
➡ Getting adequate sleep
➡ Finding a smart workout routine that works for you and your schedule, and if applicable:
➡ Taking any prescribed medications or supplements exactly as instructed.
Besides taking more medications than you may already take for various conditions, there are many tried and true methods of quieting what the Buddhists call “the monkey mind.”
You know the one; it chatters on and on and on about what’s wrong with your life, what you’re doing wrong, what you should have said…you know.
Easier said than done, but well worth the time and effort. It takes a while to get those monkeys to be still.
- However, with good guides, the help of instructional audio or video recordings, and dedicated practice, you’ll be able to enter a place of peace and tranquility you may have never experienced before. It can even transform your life.
Outside of meditation, nothing helps every part of you, inside and out like Yoga or Tai Chi.
- Not only will they teach you how to manage that monkey mind, but you’ll gain the physical benefits of a gentle program that will improve your posture, your flexibility, your core strength and your heart.
I have the tools you need if you decide to try any of these methods, that I will make available to you, free of charge. Just use the “Get In Touch” link on the top of any page and drop me a line.
And, by the way, Tai Chi can be practiced inside OR outside, despite what you may have seen or heard, and Yoga does not need to be practiced in a studio…