Mind Full? Get Your Body Moving!

After I moved to Tokyo I learnt many new words, including one of the saddest words I have ever heard. It is ‘karoshi’ and means ‘death by overwork’. In Japan work stress-related suicides hit an all time high. This is a sad reminder that confirms what we already know; stress is dangerous.

Close your eyes and imagine what life was like 50 years ago. What has changed?

Social media controls our time, we can shop 24 hours a day and order everything we (think we) need online. We have an overwhelming amount of decisions to take very day about what we want to study, whom we meet and how to spend our free time. We feel busy all the time. Yes, it is true.

Life is busier than ever before and our bodies suffer the consequences.

The Mayo Clinic confirms common effects of stress are headaches, sleep problems, fatigue, chest pain, anxiety, irritability, overeating, depression, and drug or alcohol abuse.

According to the American Institute of Stress job stress is far and away the major source of stress for Americans. The data from a recent study conducted by the Department of Sport, Exercise and Health at the University of Basel shows that a high fitness level offers particularly effective protection for people who experience a high degree of stress in the workplace.

When people are stressed they tend to exercise less often.

How sad is that. If you want to feel better, you need to stop sitting in a chair playing stress relief games on your phone, but instead get your body moving. It only takes two and half hours exercise per week to reduce the toxic effects of stress.

Here are 5 simple ways to be more active.

Try ‘walking meetings’
A 20-minute walk in the midst of a stressful time can give an immediate effect that lasts for several hours. It also boosts creativity. Researchers at Stanford University found that the creative output of people increases by an average of 60% when they are walking. Indoor walks were found to be just as effective for boosting creativity as outdoors walks. Here are more benefits of walking meetings.

Get a dog
Several studies show that interactions with animals can decrease stress in humans. In a 2001 study, researchers found that pet-owners with high blood pressure kept their blood pressure lower during times of mental stress than people without pets. Take a brisk walk with Fido to the park each day, boost endorphins and reduce stress.

Sign up for a yoga class
One of the greatest benefits of yoga is its proven ability to reduce or relieve stress in its participants. Several studies of brain patters and activity have shown that people who participate in yoga are generally happier, more productive, more focussed and have more successful relationships than people who don’t use yoga at all.

Tidy and clean your home
Did you know that you do not have to go to the gym to burn calories and reduce stress? When I assist clients with decluttering and organizing their homes I wear my Polar Fitness Tracker and my daily activity goal is reached in no time. Obviously standing all the time, carrying heavy boxes up and down the stairs and moving things around in the house are stress-reducing activities (another reason why I love my work). Create your own daily tidying and cleaning routine and reduce stress and enjoy a tidy, shiny home at the same time.

Distract yourself while doing a workout
Okay, for some people it is just best to hit the gym and do a proper workout 3 days per week. If you don’t’ really enjoy it, then combine your workout with something you find relaxing, such as watching TV, reading or listening to music. Then you’ll focus more on what calms you (great songs) and less on what you hate. And just try to remember that feeling when you finish and why you do it.

Bye bye stress.

Choose happiness!