The more successful you are, the busier life gets. Exercise is one of the simplest ways to deal with pressure. Here’s why it works (and how to add exercise to your life without piling on more stress!)
When you have a high-powered career, a family, and a home to think about, life isn’t easy. Early starts, travel, meetings, important decisions – it’s all on your shoulders.
You’re already well aware of the health risks of too much stress and too little rest. But what can you do about it?
Exercise – or simply being more active – is a powerful way to manage stress, stay calm, and make better decisions as a leader in life.
Why does exercise help us cope with pressure?
You’re familiar with how stress feels. Fast heart rate, inability to relax, unshakable feelings of pressure and perhaps a touch of irritability. Being a successful person comes with a degree of pressure as standard. But there are ways to reduce the stress.
Formal exercise sessions and informal activity are amazingly powerful at reducing stress and helping you cope with pressure. The effects happen on various levels, from your brain chemistry and hormones to blood pressure and ability to sleep better.
Exercise and stress hormones
The stress hormones – which include adrenaline and cortisol – are necessary to an extent. They help us get out of bed in the morning and feel fired up to take risks and make decisions.
But too much of them, for too long, can be a big health risk.
We know that exercise helps reduce levels of these hormones in the body (1) Exercise also stimulates the so-called “happy hormones” endorphins, which boost mood and even act as natural pain killers.
Lower levels of stress hormones, and higher levels of endorphins, will give you the mental clarity necessary for decision making and great leadership. (2)
5 benefits of being more active
– Manage your response to stressful episodes
– Deal with pressure more calmly
– A clearer head for important decisions
– Better emotional regulation
– Better long term health and less sickness
What kind of exercise is best for stress?
The short answer is that any activity will give you these stress-busting benefits. It really comes down to what you enjoy, and what you can fit into your already-busy schedule.
If you have time for long runs or cycle rides, that’s great. Exercising in the fresh air has distinct mood-boosting benefits. If you really enjoy the endorphin rush of lifting weights, that is what I would recommend for you.
Even walking will give you the benefits I’ve listed in this article. And walking more is one thing I recommend to every client.
If you want my best advice, I would recommend you combine:
– a bit more walking (7,000 steps a day)
– some resistance training (weights or body weight)
– some intense cardio (HIIT workouts or circuits)
– something relaxing (yoga, slow walking, whatever you enjoy)
Short, effective exercise sessions
All my clients will tell you I’m a big fan of HIIT. High intensity interval training combines weights, bodyweight movements, and heart-pumping cardio to deliver an amazingly effective workout in 15-20 minutes.
HIIT is a no-brainer for busy people like you. It can be done at home or even in a hotel room. It doesn’t demand much time or equipment. And it gives you all the mental benefits of longer workouts – just in less time (and that in itself is good news for your stress levels!)
Check out my YouTube channel for lots of HIIT-style workouts ideal for busy people.
‘The number one rated Personal Trainer In Henley and Oxfordshire’