Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘stress hormones’

Happy To Have Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on December 3, 2013

I have students who come to Nia that amaze and inspire me.  After Nia class recently I saw someone walk out of class I wish I had talked to before they left.  But they left before I could make it over to them.  But then when I left they were still outside.  It was a new student so I was so happy to be able to say hello and get their name.  I realized later that I didn’t introduce myself, but at least I got their name.  Anyway, we were talking about their participation in Nia and they shared one of the reasons why.  It reminded me that exercise is a great way to help against depression.  There are studies and research that go a long way in proving that exercise does the body good when combating depression.  This is the Holiday season and some people get depressed.  So getting up and moving is a great way to keep the blues at bay.  I was so happy to hear this student being proactive and not letting the circumstances that have been presented get them down.

Exercise increases the production of endorphins, it also DECREASES stress hormones.  So TWO things working at once.  The decrease in stress hormones AND the increase in endorphins.  Endorphins are the chemicals that make you feel good.  So exercise makes you feel good.  Endorphins also act as natural pain killers working to mask pain.  Sometimes pain is a symptom of depression so in addition to just feeling good you are not in pain — two ways you are feeling good.

According to WebMD, one study — way back in 2005 — revealed that “30 minutes of moderately intense exercise five days a week reduced symptoms of depression by nearly half after 12 weeks”.  This study was done at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Science Daily has a little article about how it is now believed that not only is exercise an effective way to treat depression it is also being considered as a way to prevent depression.  Seems to me like that would be a given considering all the benefits one can receive from exercise.  I mean, in addition to all the chemical reactions in the body you just have better stamina and/or mobility and/or strength and/or stability.

There is debate about what type of exercise, but what I am seeing is that it needs to affect the body . . . either get your heart pumping or your muscles changing.  Both is fine too.  It does not have to be extremely strenuous, but there should be a level of intensity that is not attained during your regular activities.

I would go out on a limb and say that most of us know exercise makes us feel better.  I don’t think we need to read the studies that the researchers are writing.  We have done it ourselves and KNOW without a doubt that working out makes us happy.  I think that it helps even more if the workout is something you enjoy.  But even if you are “doing time” on a treadmill it is better than sitting around.

So, again, I am so happily amazed by my students.

Often times the first thing that gets cut from a schedule when it starts to get busy is exercise.  Don’t let that fall off your calendar.

What about you?  Are you getting some exercise in?  What type of exercise makes you happy?

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Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

It Is Good To Find A Way To Relax and De-stress

Posted by terrepruitt on October 27, 2011

How do you relax?  Or de-stress?  There are a lot of different things to do.  There is probably almost as many things to do as there are people who can do them.  There is eating.  Some people use food to release stress and tension.  They might eat comfort foods or just eat to eat.   There is drinking.  Some people drink to “calm their nerves” and relax.  Both eating and drinking can be abused and used in this way to excess.  There is also meditation.  Some people might find some sort of relief in a form of meditation.  There are many different ways to meditate.  At a basic level it is just a silencing of the mind to help calm the mind.  In many practices the person meditating can consciously affect the body after much practice, but others just affect the body through the act of slowing down and being calm.  Meditation can take the form of drumming, chanting, sitting, moving in a particular pattern . . . there are many forms.  There is also exercise to release stress and relax, either resistance training or aerobic exercise.

Exercise is a great way to relieve stress.  Exercise has physical effects that in turn help the body clam down.  Aerobic exercise produces endorphins.  Endorphins help to relieve pain.  Endorphins are also contributed with bringing on a state of euphoria.  The state produced by aerobic exercise can help relieve depression.  These little protein molecules release stress.  Exercise can relieve muscle tension through the simple act of contraction and release.

In addition to releasing endorphins exercise helps slow the production of stress hormones, like corticotrophin, cortisol, and catecholamines.  Stress hormones a can raise blood pressure and increase both heart rate and respiratory rate.

By the simple act of doing the exercise you are freeing up the brain from any problem you might have been concentrating on.  Having to think about the exercise you are doing is a great way to help get your mind off of anything that might be causing you stress.  So in that way alone exercise is a great way to relieve stress.  In addition to allowing you to get your mind off any issues that might be bothering you, exercise can also help you work off any frustration.  Negative emotions and frustrations can begin to melt away.

Blood pressure is lowered through exercise.  This has a very large effect on stress in the body.  If the body is functioning better the stress on the body itself is less.   Some people get headaches when they blood pressure is high.  It is difficult to relax when you have a headache.  Lower blood pressure can help in keeping the body calm.

Stress reduction is very important in this busy life that we lead.  There is so much to do and so much going on people need something to allow for just being.  They need time and space to allow for relaxing and de-stressing.

Nia is one of the unique exercises (like Yoga) because it is an aerobic exercise and it can be a bit of a meditation.  It is a great way to relieve stress and relax.  I couldn’t post about relaxing and aerobic exercise without mentioning Nia.  🙂

How do you relax?  Do you light candles and devour a cheesecake?  Do you fill the tub and drink a glass of wine?  Do you sit out in nature and enjoy the view?  Do you meditate?  Do you put on your exercise clothes and workout or go running?   I am curious to learn of what you do.  There are so many things and ways to relax and reduce stress, I would like to know what you do.

Posted in Exercise and Working Out | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »