How exercise can be a source of stress relief.
The week before the 5K race was very stressful for me. Due to the fact that it rained nearly every day during the week prior to the race the students at the school where I teach were not able to go outside because the school grounds were too muddy.
As a result our students had a lot of pent up energy that they would slowly release while in the classroom. Trying to keep students motivated and on task, as well as preparing and anticipating the upcoming race, left me with a lot of tension.
The day before I ran in the 5K race, upon the advice of Theresa, I did not do any exercising, as she wanted me to have fresh legs on race day. Exhausted from the stressful week, and coming home and relaxing rather than exercising, I discovered that I wanted to eat nearly everything in sight.
Julie had often told me to ask myself why I am hungry when I eat between meals or snacks. So, I asked myself, Are you really hungry or are you bored or is there some other underlying factor?
To try to curve my cravings I would eat something healthy as I knew I had the race the next morning, but that did not satisfy my cravings which were not for anything in particular.
This week as I thought back on why I seemed so hungry that evening I have come to the conclusion that it was due to the fact that I didn’t exercise. Exercise is a great stress reliever. I have heard that many times before, but now I believe it, as I have seen it work in my own life.
When I feel most stressed or tired, that is when I know I need to exercise the most. One would think if you are tired the last thing you’d want to do is exercise. But I have found that once I exercise I regain energy lost throughout the day from stress.
This ideal reminds me of a time when a pastor once told our congregation that when we don’t feel like praying that is the time we need to pray most. This same philosophy can be used with exercising.
When you feel tired or stressed and don’t feel like exercising that is exactly when you need to exercise most. Just as prayer helps us with our spiritual lives, exercising helps us with our physical lives.
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