Exercise has been a great stress reliever for many of us during this unpredictable year. Moving our bodies gets the blood flowing, fills us with feel-good endorphins and gives us a sense of accomplishment and purpose. It's important to keep in mind, however, that exercise is itself a stressor for the body. While a little bit of stress isn't inherently bad, it's something we should be mindful of. Here are some tips to help you find a routine that pushes you enough to make progress while keeping your stress level under control.
First, start small with any new workout routine! If you're new to exercise, don't jump into a 5 day program, start with maybe 2 days and work up to 5 over the next few months. Our bodies need time to adapt and this will help you sustain your routine over time. If you've been working out for years, similar guidance applies - dial up the intensity slowly over the course of a few weeks, and be sure to include some less intense "deload" weeks into your overall plan.
Next, find the type of exercise that works best for you. We always recommend some form of resistance training as well as cardiovascular training, and there are plenty of options! Try out some different training modalities and fine what feels the best and what you look forward to the most.
Finally, when you find yourself mentally exhausted after a stressful day, understand that a really hard workout might not be the answer in that moment. This takes some trial and error, but sometimes that mental exhaustion can translate to physical exhaustion, and pushing yourself too hard can inhibit your ability to recover. Taking a day off won't set you back, so learn to recognize the difference between needing a good sweat and needing a good night in with some Netflix :)