Managing Stress Through Exercise: the Best Way to Stay Healthy

Stress is a normal reaction to events and situations in life. The body's stress response prepares you to respond quickly to danger by increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. 

 We all have different ways of managing stress. Some of us eat, exercise, take a nap, and others do something that makes us laugh.

If you prefer to take the healthier approach to managing stress, working out may be the best option for you. 

Physical activity is a proven way to reduce stress and anxiety. Exercise has also been linked to improved mood, sleep, decreased appetite, weight loss, improved strength and endurance, and even reduced risk of chronic diseases like heart disease.

There are many forms of exercise such as walking, running, swimming, yoga, and biking to name a few.  Experts recommend that adults do 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week, plus two days of strengthening exercises that work all the major muscles.

With the current pandemic situation, going to a gym may be challenging for most people. There’s the concern about leaving their homes and being with a group of people. That concern is perfectly valid. However, working out at home with a female gym coach from M Power Fitness is a good alternative. 

You can use our fitness app so you can follow a workout routine, or set an appointment for one-on-one coaching with a female gym coach. The good thing about having one is that she can create a workout plan for you based on your fitness goals and your level of fitness.

Your workout plan may include any or a combination of these simple exercises.

1 - THE PUSH-UP

A classic workout that can be done anywhere and anytime (however, not recommended when on the road/bus/car). Push-ups work out shoulder, chest, and arm muscles.

The push-up is an excellent exercise for working the pectoral muscles, triceps, and anterior deltoids and supporting core stabilization. Just ensure adequate space around you, so you do not hit anything when performing the exercises.

How to perform:

  1. Place hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with legs straight behind you.
  2. Keep your torso in a straight line, inhale and bend the elbows out to the sides of the body (while lowering your hips) until the chest is about an inch of the floor.
  3. Exhale while pressing back up to starting position.

Repetitions: Start with 10 repetitions each day or week, then build up.

Notes: Always keep the back straight and avoid locking out the elbows at the top of the movement, as this can lead to muscle injury. Manually activate core muscles, do not allow the stomach to sag towards the floor or hips to lift toward the ceiling - ensure there is constant contact between your lower back and the floor.

2 - THE SIT-UP

The sit-up is excellent for improving core strength. Beginners may find it easier to start with the movement on their knees and work up to the full version over time.

How to perform: 

  1. Lie flat with your back pressed against the ground, feet planted firmly and closed together on the floor, and hands by your side; you can place your palms down or behind your head. This is the starting position for this exercise. 
  2. Press the lower back hard into the ground and raise your torso until you are sitting upright with your shoulder blades off the floor and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Your body should be straight from the upper back to the ankles as you perform this movement; it is vital to avoid any arching of the back. 
  3. Return down slowly until your shoulder blades touch the floor and repeat for as many repetitions as you can (aim for 10-20 reps with perfect form, 30+ repetitions with less than perfect form.)

Notes: Ensure your shoulders are directly above your hips with a straight line running from ankles to neck. Do not let the lower back sag towards the floor, as this puts a lot of pressure on it and makes sit-ups uncomfortable.

3 - THE PULL-UP

The pull-up is an excellent workout for upper body strength, particularly biceps and lat muscles, as well as core stabilization. Beginners may find assisted pull-ups machines at the gym to be helpful in achieving their first reps.

How to perform:

  1. Grip the bar wider than shoulder-width with both palms facing away from you.
  2. Hang at arm's length and keep your torso straight as if someone had a string attached to the top of your head, pulling it upwards.
  3. With your elbows close to your body, exhale while pulling yourself up.
  4. Pause at the top and inhale as you return to the starting position.

Repetitions: Start with 10 repetitions each day or week, then build up.

Notes: This is a compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups such as lats, biceps, upper back, core muscles, etc.; thus, it can be pretty strenuous and taxing on the body. As such, it is advisable to start with a lighter weight than you would typically use for, say, lat pull-downs or barbell rows - this way, you can build up strength before tackling heavyweights. It is important to focus on engaging core muscles during pull-ups so that the lower back does not arch too much or sag towards the floor.

4 - THE SQUAT 

The squat is a great compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups such as quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, as well as core stabilization. It also helps improve balance and coordination.

How to perform:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart while holding dumbbells or weight plates in each hand.
  2. Keep your back naturally arched and shoulders back.
  3. Exhale while bending at the hips and knees, bringing your torso down until you are in a sitting position with thighs parallel to the floor (your elbows should brush against the inside of your knees) - avoid sagging or arching of the lower back.
  4. Inhale as you return to the starting position.

Repetitions: Start with 10 repetitions each day or week, then build up.

Notes: This exercise can be uncomfortable for people with knee issues as the lower back may sag towards the floor due to allowing knees to go past toes. As such, you must keep your knees from shifting inwards throughout the movement to ensure that they do not touch the inside of your elbows.

5 - THE HEEL RAISE 

The heel raise is one of the best lower body exercises to strengthen calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings and increase balance.

How to perform:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart on top of a step or a weight plate.
  2. Slowly raise onto your toes and then lower your heels as deep as you can go.
  3. Keep knees straight throughout the movement.

Repetitions: This exercise is best performed in a slow and controlled manner for 10 repetitions each day or week, increasing gradually over time.

6 - THE STANDING CALF RAISE

The standing calf raise strengthens calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings:

How to perform:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart on top of a step or weight plate.
  2. Slowly raise up onto your toes and then lower down.
  3. Ensure that you keep your knees straight throughout the movement.

Repetitions: Perform this exercise slowly for 10 repetitions each day or week until you gradually increase over time.

7 - THE BARBELL DEADLIFT

The barbell deadlift is a compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups such as the lower back, glutes, upper and lower back, hamstrings, biceps, forearms.

How to perform:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart while holding a barbell with an overhand grip or on top of a Smith machine.
  2. Keep your back naturally arched and shoulders back.
  3. Exhale while bending at the hips, keeping knees slightly bent and lower back straight until you feel a stretch in the hamstrings.
  4. Inhale as you return to the starting position.

Repetitions: Start with 10 repetitions each day or week, then build up.

8 - THE BARBELL HIP THRUST

The barbell hip thrust is a compound exercise that works both the glutes and hamstrings.

How to perform:

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and a small pillow or rolled-up towel under your lower back.
  2. Keep your chest up and shoulders back while holding a barbell across the hips.
  3. Exhale while thrusting hips upward until the body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees.
  4. Inhale as you return to the starting position.

Repetitions: Start with 10 repetitions each day or week, then build up.

Your female gym coach from MPower Fitness can show you the proper form and the correct way to do these exercises. This is great for preventing injuries and making sure that you get the most out of your workouts.

It’s also important to know that not all activities have to be hard-core workouts, it’s best to have some fun while you’re being active. If you like dancing, you can dance at home with your partner or family members. If you prefer to do yoga on some days, that’s perfectly okay too. The important thing is to feel good and relaxed when stressful situations arise.

For more tips to combat stress, and how to eat better, you can contact us at MPower Fitness. We’ll be happy to schedule a consultation.

About Mpower Fitness
Experienced & professional staff of personal fitness trainers in Chino and Chino Hills that truly care about you, your health, and your fitness goals! At M-Power Fitness Coaching, we pride ourselves in custom tailoring specific fitness programs that meet your needs, including an individualized nutritional plan outlined to assist your weight loss goals.
Gym Details
5370 Schaefer Avenue, Suite E
Chino, CA 91710
(909) 699-0019
Follow Us
© 2021 Bryte Enterprises DBA M-Power Fitness Coaching
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram