Stress, stress, stress. That is all we hear being talked about these days.
Headings like, “Stress Makes You Fat” and “Stress Cuts 10 Years Off Your Life” are enough to stress you even more.
Stress is not necessarily a bad thing. When we can channel our stress productively, life is good. The problems arise when we have chronic stress.
Stress can come in many different forms. Many of us believe that stress is simply an external influence that we have no control over, which makes us feel agitated, angry, frustrated or even depressed.
Stress can also be generated from:
The food we put in our mouths has a great impact on our stress levels. This includes having a diet high in processed foods, sugars, and alcohol, all of which add to inflammation and stress on your body.
You would feel this as lack of energy, being prone to injury or suffering migraines, experiencing sugar cravings, gaining weight and being unable to lose weight.
Surprisingly, exercise can be a good stress or a bad stress. Putting too much pressure on your body or doing the wrong exercises can be lead to more harm than good.
Here is a great article by Linda Melone with excellent advise for exercise in your later years. You do not have to run marathons or lift heavy weights, but it is important to maintain a certain level of fitness no matter your age.
Stress factors in your environment include toiletries and cleaning products that have an effect on us and deplete our energy.
Figure out your whys and your vision. What do you feel you need to do in your life to achieve your goals? These all change as you get older, and it is important that you adopt to the changes accordingly.
Having a vision and a road map is important much in the same way as when you travel on unfamiliar roads. Without a road map you will get lost. Having that why – and the vision that will help you drive on your right path in life – will make your journey easier.
The why is more crucial, though, because once you have that in place and the going gets tough, you have something to step back on and say, “This is why I am doing what I am doing and need to stay focused.”
A good example is deciding that you need to lose weight so you can have more energy to go for walks with friends. And when the going gets tough, and you have trouble adhering to a healthy diet, you keep this vision in mind. That will help you to fight the temptation to have a second piece of chocolate cake!
You need to know how much exercise you should be doing and how often. Exercise, in general, puts stress on the body. So, how you incorporate exercise will determine if it is a positive or negative experience.
You want your exercise program to help balance your hormones in a way that decrease stress. If you are putting too much effort into a cardio workout day after day, this can increase stress on your body. As a result, your hormones also become imbalanced, and you do not get the benefit from being active.
You need to listen to your body during and after exercise. If you feel drained after an exercise session – or find you are not recovering well, or are experiencing mental clarity issues – these are common signs of over-training and pushing yourself too hard.
If you are carrying extra weight, have a decreased muscle mass or feel depressed or anxious, your energy levels get zapped. The right kind of exercise helps with all these issues. It also increases your energy production, overall endurance and mental clarity, and decrease overall stress.
Once you find more calmness in your day, the goal to lose weight is easier to achieve. Losing weight is more than simple decreasing calories (food intake) in and increasing calories out (daily exercise).
When you decrease your stress levels, there is less inflammation in the body, you will experience less sugar cravings, and you will have more energy in your day.
What exercise is helping you to say fit and healthy in your 60s? Do you have a routine that you have developed that fits your energy levels and takes care of stress in your life? Please share the things that work for you, and how you discovered them, in the comments below.