Exercise as a resource or burden?

The human body is designed to be in motion, so prolonged immobility will erode your body. But do you remember how your body feels after you have rested and recovered? If not, do you think it might be time to take it a little easier?

The enthusiasm for the New Year’s fitness resolutions may start waning as March rolls around. Possibly because people hit the ground running.

 

Exercise as a stress reliever

Exercise is commonly seen as a stress reliever, which it also is when done in right quantities. Moreover, people who are physically fit are more resilient to mental stress than those who are not.

It can be easy to forget that exercise also stresses the body. The body responds to this by becoming stronger to withstand the physical stress. However, this requires that the body is given a chance to become stronger through a recovery period before the next workout. You can notice this development in your daily life by being able to climb up the stairs without getting out of breath or put more weights on the hoist at the gym and still feel sharp.

 

Overtraining

We as humans are complex entities, not machines that puff along steadily. A broken machine can be fixed or replaced. However, fixing yourself is a lot more complicated.

Stress is caused by both physical and mental factors. Mental stress is caused by factors such as constant rush, schedules, work pressure, difficult relationships and even lack of motivation towards work tasks, for example.

Our bodies cannot distinguish between stress sources, and both mental and physical stress are lumped together. If you are experiencing too much mental or physical stress with too few recovery periods, it will lead to a state of overtraining.

Overworking an exhausted body and mind with heavy exercise will only lead to an even more exhausted state, known as overtraining. Symptoms include mood swings, extreme fatigue, constant muscle aches and pains, frequent colds, and sometimes symptoms with unexplainable causes.

 

Exercising accordingly

When you are exhausted, laying down on your couch may seem more tempting than going outside. A tired body still needs maintenance; light exercise such as walking in nature and body maintenance (e.g. stretching) are good restorative measures. However, the key question still remains: how do I motivate myself to perform such activities? This is when you should grasp onto the feeling that you want to restore to your body from the depths of your mind.

 

Pacing your life

Workout here, yoga and choir there, then there is also work and chores. Not only do you have your own hobbies, but a responsible parent will also take their children to various activities.

Are you trying to be an overachiever, a perfectionist, an unmatched powerhouse? Or are you simply excited by novelty, with a passion for new avenues in life?

Athletes achieve their peak fitness by pacing their training. This is something people who exercise and work should remember too. Your body and mind needs time to recover. One way to achieve this is by pacing your days with breaks and balancing your week between rest and exercise. Allow yourself and your family to have a ‘do-nothing day’ or a day where you can just do whatever you feel like doing. If all your fun hobbies start making you feel stressed, you should think of ways to make yourself feel better.

How are you going to take care of your wellbeing today?

The Digiterveys® programme provides you methods for recovery and self-management to promote wellbeing.

 

 

Minna Tervo,

Digiterveys.fi

Doctor of Sport Sciences, Exercise Physiologist

 

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