Beat the hell out of your stress

05.31.2017 • Fitness

Traffic jams, encroaching deadlines, and fighting with your significant other are tricky, unavoidable side effects of life. While these stressors are common and to be expected, they build up fast, and with this buildup comes stress that can hurt our bodies and wreck our mental health.

Stress is your body’s natural response to danger, so it has its value because it’s helped humanity evade harm. However, just like carbs, even too much of a natural thing is bad. Whether you’re in an accident or just anxious about giving a speech, your body produces cortisol, the stress hormone. It’s useful for breaking down glycogen to release energy bursts meant to help you handle a stressful situation. You’ve probably heard this response referred to as the fight or flight instinct. It’s that heightened terror you feel when you oversleep or realize you left your straightener on.

Unfortunately, it’s not totally socially acceptable to run from or fight an awkward date that’s made you stressed. By keeping your natural instincts in check, you’re stuck with high cortisol levels that you’re not releasing, making it easy for your liver to get overloaded. Apart from all the health problems this causes, perpetual stress just feels terrible.

Now, while you may not be able to let out your instincts immediately, choosing an aggressive workout routine allows you to flex your natural fight or flight response. Exercise releases some cortisol depending on how intense it is and how long you go. Rather than lifting weights or jogging, high intensity workouts release other hormones that battle stress and promote weight loss.

More aggressive exercises that mimic our instinctual fight or flight responses release these hormones in an attempt to fuel you with more energy and power. Plus, punching something a lot feels amazing after a long day at work! 

Aggression in your workouts also get your head in the right space for de-stressing. A kickboxing workout requires focus and discipline, freeing your mind from dwelling on whatever problems that cloud your mind. A study showed that kickboxing significantly improves positive engagement and tranquility scales. And, kickboxing and other intense workouts often serve as both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

The drumstick workout Pound Fit is the perfect de-stressor. The music and focused movements occupy your mind while the high intensity and full body motions will expel your cortisol.

Regardless of the aggressive workout you choose, as long as you keep your thoughts positive, you’ll be good. Enter the gym with the mindset of releasing your stress and anger rather than visualizing and trying to hurt the things causing your stress.