Back to school. Fall sports. After-school activities. Football tailgates.
There are so many things that September brings, including the start of fall. While the feeling of a fresh start can be rejuvenating, it also can be stressful to add so many things to the to-do list.
Maybe you are a parent, juggling the schedules for your entire family, or maybe you’re balancing your own schedule and trying to dig out some time for yourself in this new season. It can be challenging to carve out some time for exercise with so many stressors pulling you in different directions.
You hear it all the time: “Exercise will make you feel better;” “go for a walk and you’ll be less stressed;” “take time to put yourself first.”
While those statements might make you feel more stressed when your time is crunched, I’m here to tell you that they’re not wrong.
I, myself, am guilty of putting my work, my errands, my friends and family, and my classes ahead of my personal needs all the time. However, when I take the time out to get my own workout in, I always feel better.
Why is that?
Exercise reduces the levels of stress hormones in your body. When we are stressed, our body produces adrenaline, which is a hormone that causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up. Your blood pressure may rise and you may even notice a headache or weakened immune system. Getting in a bit of physical activity will reduce the levels of adrenaline and cortisol in your body, and will help stimulate the production of endorphins. As Elle Woods once said, “endorphins make you happy!”
Not only is there a scientific explanation to use exercise as a stress reliever, it also can serve as an escape and allow you to clear your mind. Whether you’re heading out for a 20-minute walk on your lunch break or stopping in for a Pure Barre class, a little distraction never hurt anybody. In fact, it may help you return to your daily activities stronger and more clearly.
Take some time to love yourself and your body today, tomorrow and each day after. No matter what your activity of choice, I bet you won’t regret it!
Jenny Dewar is a transplant to Columbia from the suburbs of Chicago. She is owner and general manager of Pure Barre Columbia, where she also works as an instructor. In addition to her work in fitness and health, Dewar spent 15 years working in college athletics.