ThoughtBox

On Earth Day (and any day), go outdoors to reduce stress.

Happy Earth Day!

This is the perfect day to talk about spending some time outdoors to help relieve stress.

It’s a gorgeous day here on the Jersey Shore. I rode my bike to work to see a lovely, new-ish 70+ client who arrived with her usual positive attitude and a big smile. The ride home was wonderful because it’s a perfect spring day, and because she is delightful. Today she told me that she’s relearning how to move, and every day since our last session she’s been thinking about how she uses her body in everything she does. It’s the best reward to see clients progress with the mechanics of movement, getting strong, and that they’re applying it in real life. In between sets we talk about life, grown kids, and grandkids, so I know she has stressors (who doesn’t?). I want to ask her secrets to staying so positive. I’ll let you know.

The best attitude adjuster and stress buster for me is both training (lifting heavy), and getting outdoors.

Everyone has some degree of stress. There’s family, work, symptoms of menopause like lack of sleep, irritability, but how we manage it is what keeps us healthy and humming along, or cracking up.

Not all stress is bad. Exercise is stress too. We need a healthy level of stress to keep going, being productive, and making training gains. The goal isn’t to try to avoid stress (impossible, right?) but to learn the tools to handle it. An important component of training is to build on success, which can reduce anxiety in the training session and last for hours and days afterward. Women who strength train – specifically those who learn to lift heavy, show enhanced self confidence and improved mood, thereby enabling you to handle all types of stress better.

Take it outdoors to beat stress on Earth Day and beyond. Spend time outdoors, even if it’s just a short walk or bike ride, especially great if you can get to green spaces. Exercising outdoors can reduce stress (the not so good kind of stress) and improve your health. Spending time in natural environments has a positive affect on mental health.

Exercise is a form of stress, and it activates the hormones associated with it. I’ve said it before, recovery is part of training. We’re not getting strong while we’re training. We’re getting strong when we are in recovery. If you’re like me you might have a hard time unwinding, taking personal leisure time, reading (not the news!) or mindfulness time each day.

If you’re also like me, not really sure how to be mindful, and an impatient meditator, here’s a quickie: just a few rounds of 4-7-8 breathing.  This can be a perfect 5 minutes to get you feeling grounded and able to handle the next squabble with kids, a work-related blowup, or general everyday occurrences.

Best way to beat stress, any time or day, especially today on Earth Day is to go outside. Breathe any way you like, inhaling the scents of spring, eyes open or closed, moving your body, or sitting still.

Earth day

Just breathe.

x

Polli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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