Exercising is one of those activities that have a holistic positive effect on your body. Not only will it keep your body in perfect condition but it does wonders for your emotional and mental wellbeing. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins; chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
Eddie Mukalu, a fitness expert at Marcos gym, says exercise relieves anxiety and depression. He suggests that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout.
Dr Moses Semweya of Le Memorial Hospital, says when an emotionally or mentally stressed person begins exercising, they shift the attention from their original stressor to the current activity thus feeling relief.
Why it works
Mukalu adds that regular exercise improves your mood thus lowering stress. “Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can help you relax, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life,” he adds.
For effective workouts, Mukalu says he tailors an exercise programme for a client, after he finds out more about their workout history. “I will need to know if they have ever exercised, the duration and intensity of those exercises and the last time they exercised, existence of health concerns if any and the age of the client. This helps me suggest a suitable workout programme,” he notes.
He suggests that a client talks to his/her doctor before starting a new exercise routine to curb any unforeseen health complications that may occur.
He advises his clients to engage in activities they love, and to stick with them, for competitive runners, he recommends, they take a look at other less competitive options that may help with stress reduction, such as pilates or yoga classes, adding that, those other work outs may not only decrease their stress levels but also enhance their running.
Mukalu recommends that people participate in different exercises including; pilates, yoga, cardio, swimming, kick boxing, walking short distances, aerobics, bump ups and full body circuit many others in order to treat stress.
Patrick Lihanda, a fitness expert at Life Fitness Gym, says different people participate in different exercises as a mechanism of relaxation depending on their age, interests and fitness levels.
“You can choose to go for a road run, swim, or do sit ups, leg rises, squat jumps and aerobics, they can be of high or low intensity followed by a cooling down phrase but it all depends on how you feel and what your body can handle,” Lihanda says.
He, however, recommends that one takes it slow during the workouts to avoid over exhausting the body.
Farouk Senoga, a businessman, says he works out four times a week for 30 to 40 minutes a day.
“I have a very busy schedule, and this means I can only work out for a short period of time this is usually in the evening after work. To compensate for my short training time I exercise vigorously,” Senoga says.
“I use the treadmills first to warm up, and follow it with dumbbells and weights, during my work out I focus my energies at the task at hand and forget the days’ troubles for a while after exercising I feel light hearted and more relaxed as if a huge load has been lifted off my shoulders” he adds.