Your Stress Relief Magic Pill: Exercise

September 28, 2011 | Author: | Posted in Fitness, Health

Whether you are a parent or a grand parent you want to have the energy and stamina it takes to keep up with the kids. I’m not just talking about the physical strength but the mental acuteness that it takes to keep schedules straight so you will be at the right place at the right time.

Let’s talk about the mental stress and strain our everyday lives puts on us. Trying to reach certain places at a certain time really puts you under duress. In Alaska we have added stresses to our busy schedules such as weather limiting surprises.

Research shows that stress is not kind to our bodies. Stress has been the underlying problem for many ailments. One of my past clients was diagnosed with diabetes from a very stressful time in her life. The doctors found that her pancreas had calcified which caused her to lose the ability to produce insulin! Who would have thought that emotional stress could create physical symptoms? Who would have thought that emotional stress can create physical ailments?

Stress kills. If you look this up on the internet it will give you article after article proving that stress not only debilitates some people it can also cause pre-mature death.

What can we do about the stress in our lives? There is one prescription “drug” that comes up time and time again as a stress reliever and that is……… EXERCISE!! Yes, the number one prescription for stress relief is exercise.

A few years ago it was thought that only aerobic (i.e. walking, biking, jogging, running, dancing, skiing) would bring relief for stress but it’s been proven that any form of exercise will help.

When you feel pressured from whatever life deals you, take a walk, swim some laps, go cross country skiing. You will find that as you take the first few steps or strokes, whatever was weighing heavy on your shoulders will be lifted right off! It happens every time!!

Yesterday was a perfect example….one of my class participants came in and told me that she was furious about a phone call she had gotten from some company. To make a long story short, the company had a lot of information on my lady and she wanted to know how they got it and what were they going to be using it for! Of course she got absolutely no satisfaction and she was “fit to be tied”. I told her just to get on one of the machines and go through the circuit with us and “VOLIA” she was laughing and having a great time. After class I asked her how she felt and she said she felt great! She even stayed and walked on the treadmill for a while.

Here we have a perfect example of how exercise can affect your life. Not only is it mood altering but it just makes you feel good. When you do aerobic exercise your body releases hormones called endorphins and this acts almost like a euphoric drug. Because of these endorphins exercise can be habit forming!!

It’s been researched and proven that even weight training, especially circuit weight training will enhance mood and take the day’s problems away. Our bodies were made to be physical and when we engage in physical activities it makes our systems happy and they are able to perform their assigned duties better and more efficiently.

Getting back to the issue of kids, we all know how hard it is to keep up with their schedules and if we make time for ourselves by setting aside a certain time each day to exercise…we will be a lot easier to get along with and “when Momma or Grandma is happy everybody is happy”!!

When you take time to take care of yourself, it spills over to your family and co-workers. It’s amazing how good you’ll feel and how much energy you will have when you squeeze exercise into your busy life. You’ll find that your attitude and how you deal with minor upsets really improves when you incorporate some form of movement into your day!

Kids, husbands and co-workers become a joy rather than a pain when you take care of yourself! I know that a lot of women from past generations were taught to take care of others and never think about themselves because if you took care of yourself you were being selfish.

Times have changed and we’ve discovered that if we don’t take care of ourselves we can’t take care of our loved ones without stressing out! When you take care of number one, everything else falls into place. You actually wind up being a better mother or grandmother or wife or sister than you would be if all you did was give of yourself!

You know childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. Society blames the TV, the computer and the lack of PE and overabundance of soda pop in schools. The problem with all this blame is that the focus remains on what isn’t working rather than bringing a positive focus to the situation. This blame also keeps the focus on something that parents cannot necessarily control.

Encouraging children to be active is easy because children are naturally inclined to movement. And, studies show that if children become active early on, they are more likely to be active adults and suffer from fewer adult problems, such as chronic fatigue syndrome.

The first thing parents can do is take part in a fitness program of their own. It’s not the parents’ fitness level that makes a difference, but their participation. A study quoted by the American College of Sports Medicine shows that in families where both parents were active, 95 percent of the children were active. Sounds like great motivation for parents!

Second, encourage your child to participate in activities they enjoy and to experiment with new sports. Pass on to your children the skills you have developed and learn new skills with your child to further support them.

Third, focus on the fun of the activity rather than performance or weight loss. Children respond to fun and encouragement, but may quickly shut down if they receive negative feedback about their performance or feel pressure to lose weight.

Many adults relay stories to me about weighing-in at weight loss meetings at the age of 11, feeling shamed and less than encouraged, still harboring those feelings years later.

Just like those commercials that tell parents “kids listen” when it comes to smoking, drugs, etc., they also listen and learn when it comes to fitness. Starting your children on an adventure of being active will benefit them for a lifetime. What a great gift!

Bonnie Murphy is a fitness professional. She has been working in the Fitness business for 20+ years. She can work with anyone, anywhere with her Ultimate Phone Coaching Program. Visit to download a copy of her latest E-Book called the DES (Dynamic, Empowered & Strong) System. Email her at or call 907.646.4076. Bonnie has dedicated her practice to helping “mature” women remain youthful, independant, and vital!


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