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How to fight stress with fitness

Peta Serras

by Peta Serras

5 ways to move mindfully that will help you de-stress, relax and chill-out

If you have a busy lifestyle and a demanding career, stress is inevitable. The important part is how we choose to deal with the stress.

Not only will stress impact your sleep, ability to make important decisions and your mental well-being. But it affects our waistline and our weight loss goals. Being stressed increases the production of the hormone cortisol which encourages the body to store fat.

It’s important to find a stress relieving tool that we can do on a daily basis or when the situation arises to return to a relaxed state.

My favourite way to combat stress? Exercise.

Studies show that the stress-reducing benefits of exercise are effective at fighting fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and also overall cognitive function. Basically, exercise is essential if you’re a Professional Babe who wants to excel in her career.

Though it’s important to note that we’re talking about mindful movement here – completely focussing on the task at hand. So forget about that deadline and start focussing on your breath and the movement.


“You don’t need to run or enrol in a boot camp class to get the mood-boosting benefit of endorphins. Even a light stretching session is endorphin producing. And as we learnt from Legally Blonde, endorphins make us happy!”


Stretching

Aside from the usual flexibility benefits from regular stretching, one of my favourite things about it is it can be done anywhere – even your desk. The focus on deep breathing will help to lower stress levels and blood pressure levels which will result in an elevated mood. It’s also a very gentle form of exercise that’s still endorphin producing. Want to find more out about stretching? Download my free flexibility guide

Pilates

A well-cued and well-structured Pilates workout will have you forgetting about the initial stressor as soon as you start the class. Each class should focus on alignment, breath, the exercise itself and the pelvic-floor/core connection, which leaves no room for you to think about that initial stress. It’s the perfect endorphin producing workout that will make you stronger, more flexible and will fight stress at the same time.

Walking

We all should be aiming for 10,000 steps per day. Not only is walking the perfect free activity to do, but it’s a low-impact and gentle form of exercise that we can all commit to doing. We always feel better when we get out and have a good dose of fresh air. So why not schedule a walk in your lunch break or even after work to unwind. Listen to some beautiful music or be mindful by observing things you pass that you mightn’t usually notice.

Dancing

Whether it’s enrolling in an adults ballet class or listening to Beyonce whilst shaking your booty, dancing is a very fun way to combat stress. One stress reducing aspect of dancing is it’s ability to help you express emotion through movement. It also helps you to be creative by channeling your energy into something positive that promotes a good mood.

Bike riding

Coming from someone who has only recently learnt how to ride a bike, I can vouch for the relaxing benefits of riding a bike. If I was worried about something before my ride, the soothing nature of observing what I saw on my ride made those feelings vanish. In a culture where we rely on our cars as our main transportation, opting to take your bike is one way to move mindfully, burn calories and of course, de-stress!


“Remember that when it comes to exercise, pick something that you love and know you can commit to. We all need to have an exercise regime for our health and fitness, so why not add something in to reduce stress at the same time?”


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Peta Serras

Editor of Professional Babe, Peta has a penchant for pretty things, Tom Hardy and ginger kittens. You can find her sipping a long black, creating killer content or making sure her winged eyeliner is even. Peta is a writer, model & Pilates Instructor based out of the Hunter Valley.

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