From my personal experience as someone who frequently encounters stress, I cannot begin to express the value of exercise as an outlet for stress. Stress to a degree is important because it motivates us to perform better and allows us to react to dangerous situations. However, it can become counterproductive when its levels are too high. While stress is nearly impossible to avoid altogether, it is manageable and can be reduced if the appropriate actions are taken early on. It may seem like a hassle to set aside time to hit the gym, but with persistance and consistency, you'll soon find that it becomes a part of your daily routine, much like eating and sleeping.
If left unmanaged, over time stress may cause physical, chemical, and hormonal imbalances in the body. What goes on inside that we cannot see? As a part of our body's response to stress, the hormone cortisol is released. Ever wonder why during midterms and finals we have a tendency to eat unhealthily? Research has shown that cortisol is linked to high caloric fatty and sugary food cravings as well as the relocation of fat from the blood to storage areas in the deep internal abdominal area (http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/stresscortisol.html). While cortisol is necessary for everyday functions such as fuel regulation, it is important to engage in exercise in order to reduce and prevent stress-induced obesity. So what can you do to manage stress?
If you haven't already done so, swing by the Bronco Fitness Center and check out one of our heart-pumping group exercise classes (for more info on class offerings and times, scroll down to Ryan's post). If a high-intensity workout isn't your forte, perhaps you may want to consider an exercise program like yoga or pilates. These types of programs may not leave you dripping with sweat, but don't let that deceive you- they are just as effective!
Maintaining a good diet, sleeping pattern, and exercise regimine are vital to reducing and preventing stress. For more helpful tips on managing stress, continue checking back with us!