Tackling Stress Through Exercise
Feeling overwhelmed from everyday life? From being cooped up with work from home, relational stress to even financial difficulties, there's pressure all around. And if stress eating or binging on your newest Netflix series to try to ease the pressure ain't working, perhaps it's time to try breaking a sweat.
The relentless pace of living coupled with juggling responsibilities at work and home has significantly increased the amount of stress that we face on our otherwise idyllic island. According to a 2019 study, Singapore spends approximately $3.1 billion on illnesses related to stress every year. Chronic stress is the (new normal) that we have become blindly accustomed to - well before having to wear masks and check in with SafeEntry. It wears us down insidiously and can wreak havoc on our physical and mental health. This can hinder our performance at work, strain our relationships with others and leave us feeling frayed and helpless.
Coming in to the box can help make a difference, relief stress and make you feel all better. Here are some ways that working out can help with all these stress relief:
1. Endorphin production
Moving at a high intensity (Sounds familiar?) helps boost the production of endorphins, which are neurochemicals that act as natural painkillers. Endorphins help to reduce our perception of discomfort while increasing pleasure and this can help combat the adverse effects of stress. Try hopping on to the airbike and you'd get what we mean by feeling that rush!
2. Physical and mental health benefits
It isn't all about the short term tension that you feel that's a bother, stress has serious detrimental effects on the body, including the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine and nervous system. These conditions can ironically become a source of stress in themselves and this negative loop continues. We've all seen this before and we should do all we can to prevent this. The stress-response of the body can also alter levels of cortisol, serotonin and dopamine. This can lead to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, particularly in cases of chronic stress.
Working out has numerous physical benefits and promotes cognitive function and self-esteem. We all know the confidence we get when we overcome some big workout in the box and in a very stressful situation, this becomes a source of achievement for so many. This improved mental acuity and mood empowers us to expand our locus of control. Exercise also offers us a chance to get out of our heads and get into our bodies, allowing our movement to keep us in the moment. There is a strange but familiar zen in the heat of the moment. If you haven't experienced that yet, try to get in touch with that in your next workout!
3. Psychosocial benefits
Working out is a great way for like-minded people to come together and foster a sense of community. This is what we're all about and what CrossFit believes in. The community becomes a strong source of social support that people can rely on when they are feeling stressed. Coaches and members constantly check in with one another if they’re alright and how they might be coping with Covid-19. Building a community through working out can also provide individuals who may be feeling stressed due to social isolation with the engagement and encouragement that they need.
How to get started?
Stress is an unavoidable aspect of our lives and it is in our best interest to learn how to effectively manage it.
Deciding to become more physically active or engaging in regular exercise does not need to be complicated. Set aside a small amount of time each week to get active and start slowly. Rope your friends or family in and have fun trying new activities to keep things fresh. Try a class at a CrossFit box somewhere and you'd realise it's all manageable and not as daunting as you think.