Welcome to Day 5 of the 7-day eMentalFitChallenge!
Staying active is important to help manage your stress and anxiety during this difficult time. We are committed to sharing with you some proven tools and strategies for reducing daily stress and anxiety levels. Exercising only takes a small part of your day, but the benefits are long lasting!
Today's subject relates managing stress
Wishing you a fine journey through this wonderful eMentalFitChallenge.
The CKA Team
Disclosure: Information in all emails of this eMentalFitChallenge is collated from various sources stated after each article. The main purpose is to present current publications on different subjects related to mental health that may be useful. The CKA / ACK will not be held responsible for any consequences or damages that may occur as a result of the use, misuse, misinterpretation or abuse of the information shared. We emphasize that the aim is to help guide you. Should anyone require guidance in interpreting any of the provided information, they should seek the advice of the proper specialist.
Stress and Exercises
Today, as part of the 7 days of this challenge, we will try to demystify the common beliefs surrounding the phenomenon of stress.
Most people experience stress when they are under excessive pressure at work, or due to this covid-19 crisis, when they experience major life changes and for a multitude of other reasons. Good and bad stress are a natural, normal and common occurrence. So common, in fact, that 43% of people report feeling stressed several times a week.
One method has been shown to reduce stress. It is accessible to everyone and has health benefits that go beyond those usually associated with reducing stress levels. You guessed it, it's exercise!
For many people, exercising regularly is a chore. According to popular belief, they spent a lot of time running long distances to reap the benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise. In reality, it's easy to fit an effective cardiovascular workout into your schedule since 20 minutes is enough! Interval training is very effective.
Even a workout of only 15 minutes during your break will contribute to the adoption of healthy habits!
Here are some more examples of interval training:
- Elliptical. If it has a dial for resistance, it can be used for interval training. For a couple minutes, go on low resistance (0-2 level). Then crank up the resistance for one minute (up to 8-10). Repeat this process 12 times, which will give you a 20-minute workout.
- Stair Climber. Much like the elliptical, alternate between periods of low intensity for two minutes, then one minute for high intensity. The difference with the climber is the dial will control the speed of the stairs. Be careful.
- Rowing machine. Start with a two minute warm up. On minute three, however, row like you're being chased by the Kraken for a full 60 seconds. Then catch your breath. The rowing machine might be hard to do for a full 20 minutes, since it's a lot of upper body. Shoot for ten minutes at first.
- Jumping rope. Jumping rope is a full-body exercise. Also, it's fun. There's no dial here, your own body controls the pace of the jump. Follow the same two minutes easy, one minute intense as above. Jump rope can also be done with friends!
Daily Stress : Good or Bad
We all face stress on a regular basis, but few of us really understand what it is. There is good and bad stress, but the most important thing is to understand your reaction to stress and discover the strategies that will allow you to manage it effectively.
In general, good stress is short-lived. It can be a source of motivation and helps you achieve your goals. These generally short periods of stress can help you take action or overcome an obstacle. On the other hand, bad stress can be short or long-term and it is often accompanied by a feeling of helplessness or loss of control. Permanent, or chronic, stress is harmful because you never really manage to recover from its effects, and it affects your health as well as your productivity.
Your Daily Task - Breath-Based Relaxation Exercise
Devote 10 minutes a day to this simple relaxation exercise focusing on deep breathing. This daily exercise can be done in one go or divided into two 5-minute sessions.
Everyone knows how essential breathing is to life, but did you know that breathing plays a key role in stress? This fact sheet will briefly explain this role and introduce you to a simple relaxation exercise using breathing techniques to help you relax.
When our breathing accelerates, a number of physiological changes occur. You may have already noticed. If you are afraid, you may startle, feel short of breath and slightly dizzy, and feel a tingling sensation all over your body. Believe it or not, the way we breathe is an important factor in producing this type of sensation.
Today's Exercises for your eMentalFitChallenge
The Soothing Technique
Excessive breathing and hyperventilation are not particularly dangerous. However, in the long term, they can cause a feeling of extreme fatigue or nervousness, making you more likely to react to stressful situations with panic and intense anxiety. Taking control of your breathing requires slowing the pace and changing the mode. By following the next steps, you will succeed in changing your habits in order to breathe better.
- Are you feeling back or neck pain, muscle stiffness, upset stomach, rapid heartbeat or shallow breathing at this time?
- Make sure you are comfortably seated on a chair or lying on a bed.
- Inhale for 4 seconds (through your nose if possible).
- Hold your breath for 2 seconds.
- Exhale for 6 seconds (through your nose if possible), then take a short break before trying again.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat!
Tips for Breathing Well
- When you try to change the way you breathe for the first time, it may seem difficult to slow your breathing down to the rate indicated. So you can start by breathing in 3 seconds, hold your breath for 1 second, and then breathe out in 4 seconds.
- When doing your breathing exercises, be sure to breathe through your stomach rather than your chest. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. The hand on your stomach should lift up when you breathe in.
- To adopt a soothing breathing technique, try to exercise at least once or twice a day, when you can relax and are free from distraction.
By using this relaxation method, you can slow down your breathing and reduce your overall stress level. With enough practice, you can even reduce your stress level in real time, in a stressful situation.
Being more active is very safe for most people, however, some people should check with their doctor before they start becoming physically active. If you are planning to become much more physically active than you are now, consult a Kinesiologist to guide you through your process. Find a kinesiologist near you. The CKA will not be held responsible for any consequences related to performing these exercises.
Stay Tuned for Tomorrow's eMentalFitChallenge:
- Managing Anxiety
- Muscle Relaxation
Looking for some more mental health support through exercises?
Find a kinesiologist near you (click here)
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