Don’t Stress It, Just Bench Press It

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Don’t Stress It, Just Bench Press It

By Marlie Blaise

As twenty-somethin year olds, we’re bound to experience stress.  Whether you’re in your senior year of college trying to decide whether to apply to graduate school or taking a gap year or you’re working in your first job after college or law school and you’re maneuvering through this thing call “adulting;” stress is inevitable.  If you’re feeling stressed, you shouldn’t let it consume you. Instead, you should develop a coping mechanism to deal with stress in a healthy and productive way. There are many ways to deal with stress.  While I personally enjoy talking to God and relying on his guidance, I also thoroughly enjoy exercising to deal with any stress. 

I started relying on exercising to deal with stress while I was in law school. I developed the habit of waking up early and working out before I headed to class and work for the day.  I found that exercising would set the tone for my entire day.  It impacted the foods that I chose to consume for the day and ironically, I was more energized on the days that I worked out.  The gym became my great escape.  It was the one place where I didn’t have to think about class or work for an entire hour and it felt great.

Now, as a young working professional, finding out that exercising has the same impact has greatly helped me.  Although I can’t make it to the gym in the mornings as often as I would while I was in school, I sometimes go right after work.  Somehow, I found that going after work would alleviate my stress from the working day.  One of the things I enjoy doing is running on an incline on a treadmill.  Although I’m running in place, I find that running on a treadmill brings me back to that great escape place that I discussed earlier.  It helps me block out any stressors from the day and release any negative thoughts or emotions.  It prepares me for my transition into strength training which I thoroughly enjoy.  I think that I enjoy strength training because it challenges me.  Instead of reminiscing on the millions of things that were running through my mind before I walked into the gym, I shift my focus to how I can challenge myself.  With every weight I lift or every set that I complete, I focus on how I can push myself.  By the time I am done with my workout and am leaving the gym, I have this feeling and sense of accomplishment.  I’m no longer thinking about how stressed I was, but rather, I feel good.  I’m on a natural high from my body releasing endorphins.  If you work out, you know the feeling.  It’s almost indescribable.

While running and strength training are great ways to relieve stress, with the evolution of fitness there are different types of workout regimens that an individual can choose from which can aid in de-stressing.  For example, if a person wants to release anger and frustration, he or she may choose to attend a kickboxing class.  On the other hand, if one is looking to relax or meditate, he or she can attend a yoga class.  There’s no one size fits all when it comes to physical activity.  And because the activity is more about de-stressing, it should be fun.  So whatever you choose, make sure it serves its purpose.