Does Stress Improve Your Workout?
It’s well known that exercise is a great stress buster. It releases feel good endorphins, gives you that much needed “me” time, and can help you switch off your mind to the outside world. But could your stress levels ruin your workout? And how can you outsmart the stress when it does?
Your Pain Threshold is Lower When Stressed
Some people find stress pushes them to exceed in their workouts, while many find it’s like an extra level of resistance.
Studies have shown that those who are experiencing stress generally cannot tolerate pain as much as they normally can. So if you’ve had a bad day plus you suddenly can’t handle your usual number of bench presses, don’t sweat it too much. It’s not that you’re weaker today, it’s just that the burn seems more intense than usual.
Combat this by using lighter weights and more reps to get your workout buzz. You could also try out lower impact cardio like jogging or taking a leisurely swim. It may not be as hard core as you’re used to, but it’s could be a good relaxing exercise to get you back on track for your next workout.
Stress Can Ruin Your Recovery
Being stressed is a tiring business. Worries may keep you up at night, but they sure don’t seem as energising in the morning. If you’ve been working out your body as well as your mind, you could find yourself twice as exhausted. This means you can be left with less motivation and power than usual in the gym.
Outsmart the stress by trying out a different workout to your normal routine. Sign up for a random class at the gym, or scour social media for a new workout inspiration video to follow. By forcing you to really concentrate on what you are doing instead of switching off to your normal routine, you can help your mind side track from your stressful thoughts. Plus, you should pay extra attention to your recovery nutrition, warm ups and downs and pre-sleep routine.
Stress Messes With Your Head
While many people think working out is all about the body, fitness fans know that the head also plays a big part. Stress can tend to knock you off your game. It can hamper your memory and your concentration levels.
So if you’re having a tough time, consider inviting a workout buddy to keep your mind on track. Someone else to keep track of your reps and plan the workout could be just what you need. Don’t forget, in general exercise improves memory and concentration. So if you are feeling forgetful and muddled, it’s a good reason to stick to your gym plans.
Though stress can be a nightmare for your fitness plans, don’t let these facts stress you out. Remember, exercise is a key part of stress management. Don’t think “my workout won’t be good anyway because I’m stressed”. Think “I need to work out as part of my stress management”. When the stress fades, you’ll be proud of yourself for sticking with your fitness plan.