Does Exercise Help Reduce Stress?

Dealing with stress can be hard on not just the individual, but also their friends and family. Feeling powerless to help someone dealing with stress can in turn cause stress for those that are around that person.

Which can cause people to not really want to be around that person, thus creating a lonely atmosphere which is never a good thing.

So when trying to figure out ways on how to deal with this stress, one must be able to first identify it, and then take action on it. Not letting it take control over your life should drive you to wanting to beat this.

Just know that there are ways of dealing with stress and that you just have to find your happiness through it all.  One of the most effective ways is through exercise.

You may ask the question, does exercise help reduce stress? The answer to that question is yes! Any type of physical activity can help release endorphins in the brain which will help give you that sense of purpose.

Figuring out which form of exercise or physical activity that is right for you is the key to helping you manage any stress you feel throughout the day.

Understanding Stress

The first step in managing stress, is understanding what is causing you the stress in the first place. It is also important to understand how stress can affect your life greatly in your daily activity. Some of the effects stress can put on you mentally are:

  • Lack of Motivation
  • Mood to be Altered
  • Lack of Focus
  • Lack of self worth

Stress can be caused by many things going on in your life. Whether it be work, kids, health, or money. Most times you don’t even realize how much stress is affecting your health. It could be something as simple as getting a headache or getting sick. Some of the Common effects of stress put on your body are:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Chest Pains
  • Low sex drive
  • Weak Immune system
  • Trouble sleeping

Recognizing these symptoms as a result of stress can sometimes be difficult due to other things going on in your life. Thus causing you not being able to know how to find a solution. That’s why it is important to commit to improving your health and make exercise a part of your lifestyle.

Reduce Stress With Physical Activity

If you have symptoms of stress, taking steps to manage stress can have numerous health benefits. There are many different physical activities that help stimulate the brain causing your mind to relax and help reduce stress.

The most important thing is doing something that makes you happy. So many times, we choose to do things because we feel it is necessary instead of doing things that makes us happy. Some of those things can include:

  • Any Physical Activity (jogging,walking, exercise)
  • Relaxing techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation or taking a yoga class
  • Having some alone time such as reading a book or maybe listening to music.
  • Socializing with Friends and Family
  • Something simple as SMILING 🙂

It is important for you to do these things because it can help take your mind off of whatever may be stressing you out. At times we forget to make time for ourselves and get caught up in what everyone else is doing.

Also participating in a activities like exercise can give you a sense of accomplishment. Knowing you were able to complete a workout, gives you that positive mindset. Also, the result of regular exercise helps you look good and feel which will help in creating a positive mindset.

Seeking Help

If you are not sure if stress is controlling your life, don’t be afraid to have a talk with friends and family to help give you encouragement and also help let you know that you are not alone in this.

If you have taken steps to control stress and your symptoms continue, then consult a doctor or other specialists that may help identify other causes of your stress.

Also make sure to ease into this process of controlling stress. The last thing you want to do is stress out over trying to manage stress.

So don’t let stress control you and know that you don’t have to do this all in one day. Making sure you continue to have a positive mindset will help in you beating stress throughout your daily life.

Please feel free to comment below on what steps you take to manage your stress daily.

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Should You Stretch Before or After a Workout?

Let’s be honest, nobody likes to stretch. Stretching just isn’t fun! But let’s also be real, unless you’re under the age of 30, the body just doesn’t move like it used to.

Even still, regardless of age, stretching can be key when making sure you are at your optimal level when exercising.  So the question is, Should you stretch before or after a workout?

I will breakdown the importance of why you should stretch, when you should stretch and how you should stretch when getting ready to take your body through a workout.

Importance Of Stretching

Improve Flexibility and Range of Motion – Stretching is a great way to improve your flexibility and range of motion while conducting a workout. By doing so, you are able to get the maximum benefit with any specific exercise you are doing.

Whether it is strength training, Running, or performing in competition, you are allowing your body to push at full capacity.

Warming up your body – You’re also getting the muscles warmed up and ready to complete a workout.

Especially as you get older, you will start to notice that when the body isn’t warmed up, you will feel a little tight and not able to move as freely as you would if you warmed up properly.

Getting the body warmed up also helps in preventing injury.  So stretching can be a great help in making sure the body is good to go before performing a workout.

Different Types Of Stretching Techniques

There are a two main types of stretching techniques you will see people do before or after a workout. Each stretch has its pros and cons, but both try to achieve one main goal, which is to get the body ready to perform. The two types of stretches are Static and Dynamic and I will explain how both are effective in getting the body ready.

Static Stretching – which you will see most people do before or after a workout, either while sitting down or standing up. The purpose of this stretch is to make sure that all tight muscles are stretch out before performing an exercise.

Usually tight muscles within the body are shortened and need to be stretched out. So you will see people stationary in positions that are meant to lengthen the muscle that feels tight.

Dynamic Stretching – this type of stretch involves more movement as you are preparing the body for a particular exercise you are about to perform.

For example, you tend to see track athletes that are getting ready for a sprint race perform high knees while pumping their arms.

Since during the race this will be the actual motion they will be performing, it helps make sure their body is operating at full potential.

Research has also shown that dynamic stretching helps more with getting your body ready for the workout as where static stretching can decrease strength if done before before a workout.

Which gets me to the question, should you stretch before or after a workout?

When Should You Stretch And For How Long?

The recommended amount of time to stretch each muscle, is usually about 30 seconds long. Keep in mind that every person is different so you want to make sure you stretch for as long as it takes for your body to get warmed up for the workout. Depending on the your workout, making sure your body is prepared to do that workout is important to making sure you prevent injury.

So if you are getting ready to do squats, doing dynamic stretching will provide a more efficient workout if performed before. Static stretching done before a workout is known to reduce your strength thus causing you to not perform your exercise at optimal level.

I would recommend doing some static stretches after your workout where the muscles tend to be tight(shortened) to make sure you lengthen them to get them loose.

Cool Down And Stretch

This is a good time to focus on your breathing and get your mind right after an intense workout. Also, I would highly recommend you invest in a foam roller which can be a great tool for loosening up your muscles before and after a workout

So please comment below and let us know how you prepare for a workout. Whether you stretch before or after a workout and how does your body feel afterwards.

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Is 7 hours of Sleep Enough?

It can be challenging at times trying to figure out what is the recommended amount of sleep an adult should get.  Depending on which article you read, you will see anywhere from 6 to 9 hours a night.  Even knowing this, many people still find it difficult to get those hours necessary to help get them ready for the next day. 

Whether it be due to work, kids or finding time to hang out with friends, sleep can sometimes be low on the priority list.  We all know that getting enough sleep is not only important for daily function, but most importantly your health.  Also, keep in mind that everyone is different and that some people can function with less rest than others. 

Trying to figure out the right amount of sleep that works best for you is what matters.  Feeling energized and making sure you are functioning at your optimal level.  Managing sleep is about trying to figure out a schedule that works for your body and making sure you stick with it.

Sleep Is Good For Your Health

We all know that feeling you get when you’ve had a good night’s rest.  You feel like you can take on anything that is thrown at you throughout the day.  There’s a reason for this.  Getting enough sleep helps with brain function during the day. 

Have you ever had to talk to someone that was tired and it takes them a while to respond to what was being said?  Well that’s because the neurons in the brain are not functioning at full capacity due to not getting enough rest.  A tired brain makes it not only hard to communicate with people, but also retain any information that is given. 

Getting enough sleep is not only good for your mental health, but it can be good for you physically as well.  Sleeping helps the body repair muscles and tissues and also boost your immune system  In order to wake up fresh and energized, getting quality sleep is a must. 

Also not getting enough sleep can be linked to many causes of poor health, like weight gain, high blood pressure and depression.  Lack of sleep can take a toll on your mood, energy and judgement.  Your ability to handle stress can also be affected by your lack of sleep.  By understanding your sleep habits, you can make sure to recover from loss of sleep.

Are You Getting Enough Rest?

How do you feel when you you wake up from a night’s rest?  Do you feel like you could use another 1-2 more hours of sleep?  If so, maybe you are not getting enough rest. 

There could be many reasons why you may not be getting a sufficient amount of sleep during the night.  Maybe you work the night shift and you find it hard to sleep during the day with all the light and excess noise.

In a caffeine driven world we live in today, we need to be alert in order to complete tasks on time.  So we tend to make caffeine our breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

You can’t step outside in the morning without someone having a cup of coffee or energy drink in their hand to get them through the day. 

Now I’m not here to bash coffee drinkers, because coffee definitely has its benefits, but when taken in amounts that can affect sleep, then there should be some cause for concern.

Assess your Sleep Pattern

A helpful way of trying to figure out your sleep pattern is when the next time you are on vacation from work.  Try waking up without an alarm clock for a week.  I say a week because a couple of days like during the weekend, your body is still trying to catch up on all the sleep it has missed due to your hectic work schedule. 

So try waking up without an alarm clock and find out when your body naturally wakes up.  From there you can determine what time you need to go to bed in order to get the amount of sleep needed to function properly the next morning.

Quality vs Quantity

Although the amount of rest you get is important, the quality of your sleep is equally important.  If you see yourself waking up multiple times during the night, even if you get the recommended amount of sleep, you could still find yourself tired due to being restless. 

You want to make sure you are getting that deep sleep to ensure you are well rested for the following day.  Making sure you limit your alcohol consumption or even smoking can be a big help in how you feel the next day.

So what are some of the ways you try to make sure you are getting a good nights rest every night?  Please leave your comments and ideas below.


How To Burn Fat With Kickboxing

I know how intimidating it can be to hear the word kickboxing.  I’m sure the first thing that enters your mind when you hear it is fighting.  Well I am here to tell you that it is possible to get in shape and burn fat with kickboxing, and not have to worry about taking a beating while doing it.  If anything, you will be doing most of the beating while looking and feeling great! 

Not only is kickboxing a great workout, it can also be fun.  There are so many different types of exercises out there, that it can be quite difficult to find one that works for you.  So imagine  finding something that you can enjoy, but still get all the benefits of an intense workout.  Some people wonder and ask the question, can you lose weight with kickboxing? 

If so, how fast?  I will try and help walk you through some of the ways that kickboxing can be a new and exciting part of your fitness life.


Keep in mind, as I mention kickboxing, I am not talking about Billy Blanks Tae bo air boxing stuff.  I’m talking about actually hitting real bags and getting all the stress and aggression going on in your life out on these workouts.  Plus all that air boxing is a whole bunch of cardio which is breaking down a lot of muscle, but I will get to that later. 

So a good place to start is a private gym.  Although they may be tough to find, many kickboxing gyms are opening up all over the place catered to helping people get in shape.  A couple that come to mind are Ilovekickboxing and title boxing.  I know first hand because I currently am an instructor at a kickboxing studio and trust me, the workout will definitely kick your butt. 

If you just google kickboxing in your area, I’m sure you will find something you could join and be apart of an awesome community of people trying to get in shape just like you.  Most of them allow you trial classes just to see if it is something you will like before choosing to becoming a member.  So it doesn’t hurt to at least try, right?


You can burn anywhere from 500 to 1000 calories in a kickboxing class depending on how much effort you give during the class.  Now with anything in life, it takes hard work and commitment.  So when making fitness a part of you healthy lifestyle, you must make that commitment to yourself to stick with a routine that could potentially help you get great results. 

So once you have found a studio, if you could commit yourself to kickboxing at least 3 days a week along with eating healthy, you will be amazed at how quickly the results will start to show not just on the scale, but in photos.  Most kickboxing classes are usually 60 minutes long, but trust it will be the quickest 60 minutes of your life. 

Now if you’re thinking that you will only be doing kickboxing for the whole 60 minutes, well guess again.  The great thing about these kickboxing classes is that it is very structured so you know exactly what to do and when to do it.  The general breakdown of any kickboxing class goes as follows:

  1. Conditioning
  2. Stretching
  3. Heavy Bag Rounds
  4. Partner Drills
  5. Partner Condition
  6. Cool Down & Stretch

Conditioning 15 min – this is considered the warmup part of the workout, but most definitely the most intense part.  So if you can get through this part, which I’m sure you can, then you can get through the class no doubt. 

So basically you go through a series of body weight exercises where the instructor makes you do a bunch of pushups, squats and everyone’s favorite, BURPEES.  Now I know it may seem like a lot of hard work, but the best thing about this part is that you can go at your own pace and not feel like a total failure.  If you need to step back and catch your breath, you can do that without feeling bad about it.  Regardless if you are a beginner or experienced, you can challenge yourself at a pace you are comfortable with.


Stretching 6 min – I’m sure we all know how important it is to stretch and make sure the muscles are loose and prepared to get into the workout.  So this is the time for you to gather yourself after an intense “warmup.”

Heavy Bag Rounds 25 min – Now on to the fun part where you get to be in your own zone and release a lot of tension on the bags. 

There are usually six 3 min rounds where you go through a serious of different combos for each round.  Now if you’re thinking to yourself, oh man, I have no idea what I’m doing.  Don’t worry, you should be given a personal instructor for your first day to go through the basics of the combos while the main instructor will teach more advanced combos to members who have been there longer. 

One of the best parts about this part of the class is the fact that you don’t have to worry about people judging you on the bags as everyone is so focused on doing their own thing.

Partner Drills 5 min –  This part of the workout is where you get to partner up with someone and get focus on accuracy and coordination.  Instead of doing combos on the heavy bag, your target will be the gloves of your partner.  This will allow you to really focus on your accuracy and also have fun with you partner a bit.

Partner Conditioning 5 min – In this drill, you will still be partnered up where one partner may do wall sits while the other partner is doing combos on the heavy bag.  Then you will be asked to switch and do the other respective exercise.  With this part of the workout, there are various routines of different exercises you may be asked to do, so definitely be ready.

Cool Down & Stretch – This is where you get to cool down and relax your muscles for all the hard work you put into class.


For most people, losing weight is the main goal for wanting to join a kickboxing studio since you can burn so many calories during the workout.  But what some may not know is that kickboxing is a great way to also Burn Fat! 

What separates kickboxing from your normal routine at the gym, which may include a lot of cardio on the treadmill, is that you get the cardio and the resistance training all in one workout.  You see, too much cardio can break down muscle, so if one of your goals is to get that nice toned defined look, then you are defeating the purpose by doing so much cardio. 

With kickboxing, you get both the cardio and resistance training with all the body movements.  From the warmup where you are doing all body weight exercises to the heavy bag rounds where resistance is given with every punch and kick, you are burn a bunch of calories throughout the body. 

At the same time, you are getting that heart rate up which helps with the fat burning process.  So with all this, you are getting a more efficient workout when it comes to burning fat and building muscle.


Most places will provide you everything you need to participate in the workout, but make sure to ask just in case.  You should be given gloves to protect your knuckles when punching the bag.  Hand wraps may also be used to to help support the wrist and knuckles, but usually these are worn by more experienced kickboxers. 

Be prepared to workout in either barefoot or socks as some studios do not allow sneakers or shoes on the mats.  Make sure to wear comfortable clothing as you will sweat a lot during your workout.  Other than that, make sure to bring your effort and a great attitude and I’m sure you will get the workout of your life!



How to Drink Water Daily

Are you drinking enough water daily?  No, well then maybe you should.  I’m pretty sure you already know this, but are wondering what are the benefits of drinking water on a daily basis. 

I can’t stress enough how important it is to get the right amount of water your body needs to work efficiently throughout the day.

Can you Imagine that many people find all types of substitutes to drinking water whether it be artificially flavored juice, Soda, Energy drinks, or coffee even. 

One of the biggest reasons many people struggle to drink enough water is the fact that it doesn’t have much taste.  Even though there are different ways to drink water.

Why Drinking Water Is Important

Let’s be honest, you kinda can’t live without it – In order for our bodies to be properly hydrated, one must always feed their body with fresh water. 

You can go weeks without food, but only 3 days without water!

Water is an invaluable source –  It is very difficult for out bodies to get water from any other source than itself. 

Other liquids like soft drinks, alcohol, coffee and other beverages, steal a great amount of water from the body.

Not to say you wouldn’t be able to survive from these other liquids, but it would be hard for your body to work as efficiently as it needs to for good health

Water plays a very important role in your body – Lack of water can be a huge factor in fatigue during the day.  Leading the brain to not work properly thus causing lack of focus.

Water is important for proper digestion and nutrient absorption within the body –  Most importantly, the ability of water to remove waste material out of our bodies.

Helps suppresses the appetite naturally – and helps the body metabolize fat that is stored within the body.  There are studies that have shown that decrease in water intake can increase fat deposits, while an increase in water intake can reduce it.

Water acts as a cooling system for our body – During intense exercises or in hot temperatures, it is better to drink water rather than sport drinks which are usually good for after any strenuous activity.  Water helps regulate the body’s cooling system.

Why You Should Drink Water Instead Of Soda

Soft drinks like soda take water from the body – due to all the sugar your body has to process.  Causing large amounts of water to be taken from the body

Soda never really quenches your thirst – you may not feel your lack of quench for thirst, but your body will.  By denying your body the amount of water it needs to work, can cause Chronic Cellular Dehydration which can weaken your immune system, which can lead to disease.

Soda offers no nutritional value – other than taste, there are zero benefits to drinking Soda

How to drink more Water

Try adding flavor to your water – Drinking water alone can seem like a chore when every sip is tasteless.  Try adding some excitement to your water with fresh fruit (Lemon, Lime, strawberries or even grapefruit).  

Lemon is known to give your immune system a boost of Vitamin C which is vital to health.  It also aids in digestion and many other benefits.

Using technology to track your cups – The most common daily recommended amount of water you hear is 3 liters for Men and about 2.2 liters for women.  I think you should be trying to get at least these amounts depending on your activity level and health.  My general rule is, if you feel thirsty, then drink water.

Keep a Jug around – which can help you remember to always have it filled up.  I usually carry around with me a liter jug  and try to make sure to drink at least three of them a day.

Try sparkling or mineral water – an awesome alternative to all the soda drinkers that still need that bubbly feeling when needing a drink but all the benefits of water.

Eat water-rich foods – Yes, you can eat your water.  Try consuming foods that are rich in water like cucumber, zucchini and watermelon.  This is a great way to curb your appetite and get the benefits of water as well.

There you have it.  Some of the many ways to drink water and the benefits that come with it.  Please share below how you make water a part of your life and how it has helped you.