Movement is a vital component of our health, yet even though it’s so good for us, it’s also a stressor. And what we know about stress is that it impacts both our physical and mental wellness. From impairing our immune system to sleep issues, when high stress levels aren’t managed, exercising could be adding to it.
So, should you gauge how you train based on your stress levels? Explore this topic in today’s post from Proven 4.
Life is stressful, and if stress is managed, typically it’s only acute or lasts for short periods. From an upcoming presentation at work to a break-up, the amount and duration of stressful events will change, but stress should never be chronic — this is when it’s especially damaging to our health.
Because our stress levels are ever-changing, tailoring your workout based on your stress levels at the moment can be highly advantageous. Sure, it may take some spontaneity and adaptation in your training program, but if you’re willing to listen to how your body is feeling that day, it helps support your wellbeing and may even prevent an injury or illness.
There is a time and place to hustle in your training — in workout culture, the grind is the holy grail — but it’s the hustle that can lead to a plateau or decreased performance if you’re in a highly stressed season.
While you may have the drive to drag your body to perform, this is just compounding the stress and making you vulnerable. At the end of the day, it’s important to listen to your body and tailor your workouts accordingly.
If you’re feeling more stressed than usual, try being a little more gentle with your body. This isn’t to say you should stop working out completely, but in this time, less can be more.
If you love weights, instead of going for a PR, decrease your normal weights and focus on the movements. You can always make a lift like squats more challenging by slowing them down or pulsing at the bottom.
Love running? In a stressed state, slow down your pace, go for a hike, or even a long walk. Other great workout options when you’re stressed are yoga, dancing, riding a bike, and swimming.
Recovery, even when you scale back your workouts, is integral to your health. Rest days — not active rest days, but the rest days where you don’t do anything — are so important. This pause allows your body to rest, repair, and combat stress. Recovery is key when you’re stressed, so take a little extra time to support your body.
When it comes to working out and stress, always tune in and listen to your body. If you’re feeling more exhausted than usual, you’re getting easily fatigued, and it’s hard to get into your zone, consider tailoring your workouts based on your current stress levels.
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