Many of us are experiencing increased stress levels at the moment. Living with the uncertainty of a global pandemic isn’t easy, and concern about the wellbeing of ourselves and others, as well as other worries, can pile on the pressure.
Feeling overwhelmed also puts us at greater risk of heart disease, mental health problems and stroke. It also makes it harder to stick to healthy eating plans – many of us comfort ourselves with calorific snacks and alcohol when stress levels rise.
Alongside eating a healthy, balanced diet like Food Optimising to improve your general wellbeing, becoming more active can help you to feel calmer. A brisk walk, a dance-off in the kitchen, some squats in the living room… virtually any exercise has the potential to provide natural stress relief. And it all counts as brilliant Body Magic!
Five ways activity could help you relieve stress
Release happy hormones
Dancing, like any activity that increases your heart rate and breathing, has many benefits. It releases endorphins, which help to reduce stress and make your body feel calmer and your mindset more optimistic. The NHS offers some great tutorials on how to dance la bomba or begin belly dancing, and you can find instructional videos for your favourite dances on YouTube.
Losing weight gave Jackie (@jackierogersonx) the confidence to rediscover her childhood love of ballet, and she’s maintained her target weight for 25 years and counting!
MORE FOR MEMBERS: You’ll find some fantastic ideas for getting down to the Body Magic beat, including Zumba and Clubbercise, on the member website.
A sense of belonging
As well as being great for your all-round health and fitness, running is a brilliant mood booster – and those benefits are multiplied when you run with a Body Magic buddy. Exercising with others gives us a sense of belonging and provides the support that’s so important for our emotional wellbeing.
Tessibel (@sw_tessibel) gets her fitness fix by running and countryside walks. She says: “Mikey (twin #1) & myself decided to go for a long run across our fields behind the house,” she says. “After an hour of running, we crawled back home, got changed and joined the others to head off for Tyntesfield National Trust house & park. Just the best day of fun & fitness.”
Learning new skills can help to improve your mental wellbeing by boosting your confidence and building a sense of purpose. You can find Body Magic activity ideas on the Slimming World member website. Boxing, for example, can improve your co-ordination and stamina plus there’s the emotional release that comes with punching and moving.
Boxing has helped Sam (@sams_edible_insta_sw) discover a love of fitness on the way to losing 2st 9½lbs. She says: “I never thought I’d get my fitness levels to the point where I could not only take part in, but enjoy sports. Never forget how far you’ve come. Set goals, work hard, enjoy the fruits of your labour!”
A natural remedy
Paying more attention to your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you can really help to cultivate calmness. If you’re out walking, try to pay close attention to the sights, smells and sounds around you. By taking your mind off your worries and refocusing on the present moment, you’ll arrive home feeling so much more relaxed!
Lauren (@lauren_emilysw), who’s lost over 7st, took a pause during her morning walk to enjoy her surroundings. She says: “Not sure there’s a much better feeling than a nice autumn walk 🥰”
At Slimming World, we’ll help you to find an activity you really love – and one that may just become a life-long healthy habit. Yoga, for example, can give you some clear thinking space to enable you to put your worries into perspective. By controlling your movements with a yoga routine, you’ll be giving your body the much-needed sense of control that often disappears when we feel stressed. And stretching will help to ease any tension and tightness.
Slimming World Consultant Kirsty (@koswizz_swconsultant) says: “An hour of yoga was just what I needed this morning ❤️ feeling so relaxed.”
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We’d love to know which Body Magic activities help you keep stress at bay. Send your photos to the blog or share on social using #theSlimmingWorldblog