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January 19, 2009

Exercise to Cope with Stress – Please Make it fun!

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: 9:39 am

Job and workplace stress is growing in these times of economic crisis. The ability to manage stress in the workplace can make the difference between success or failure on the job. The better you are at managing your own stress, the more you’ll positively affect those around you.

We all know exercise is a key strategy for managing stress but it is easier said than done. Perhaps busting the following exercise myths may help give you the nudge you need to start exercising and beat stress.

MYTH: You have to exercise for at least half an hour at a time, 7 days a week, to really make it work.

FALSE! Several 10 minute bursts each day can be as effective as working out for 30 minutes. Some simple ideas for 10-minute activities include climbing the stairs instead of using the elevator, parking a few blocks from your office and walking to work, and doing ten minutes of jumping jacks during your favorite television show at night.

MYTH: No pain, no gain – if working out doesn’t hurt, it isn’t working.

FALSE! While a true aerobic workout does need to push you hard enough to raise your heartbeat, many great forms of exercise, like walking, swimming, or gentle stretching don’t require any pain. And even more strenuous exercise doesn’t have to hurt –in fact, if it does, it may indicate an injury or muscle strain. You don’t need to harm your body in order to get results.

MYTH: I need special clothing to exercise – meaning extra time for changing clothes and showering.

FALSE! If you exercise in short spurts, you won’t perspire heavily enough to have to change clothing. Even for heavier workouts, you don’t need special “gear”. Working out need not be a fashion show – an old pair of sweats and t-shirt will do.

MYTH: Exercise tires you out. I’m already exhausted, working out will just make it worse.

FALSE! Actually, the opposite is often true. Exercise releases endorphins that relax and energize your body and mind. This is not to say that running a marathon won’t leave you exhausted, but in moderation, physical activity makes you more alert.

MYTH: In order to exercise, I need to join a gym.

FALSE! Gyms are not for everyone. They can be intimidating, inconvenient, and expensive. There is no need to jump on the health club bandwagon – there are many activities you can do in the privacy of your own home, in the outdoors, or basically anywhere other than a gym. Simply signing up for the gym won’t help you if you never actually go there!



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