One undeniable fact about life: It’s not always easy. Stress happens, it’s part of our daily lives in one way or another. Some deal with stress better than others and some have more or less than others, but we all feel its effects and can remember situations that were hard to deal with. Stress also has a negative effect on our health and wellbeing in many ways. The picture below is a helpful visualization of the areas stress has on your body and mind: Over time, chronic stress can wear you down and effect everything from your immune system to your mental state of mind (Here’s a good in-depth overview of it’s effects, and the rest of the above infographic) Stress is not always bad for you: “Researchers have found that people with high-stakes, stressful jobs can benefit from HIIT—and the more intense the workout, the greater the stress-busting benefits.” (1) Working out, especially at a high intensity, is a proven stress reducer. By causing your body physical stress, it helps your system balance and reduce the levels of chronic stress you build up over time. For me, my life is as busy as it gets. Working as an entrepreneur and full time gym owner with a 24/7 on call schedule and always focusing on critical operations and problem solving is not an easy career. Add in learning to manage people, be a leader and make all of the right decisions and working to be the best partner and friend I can be and I have a lot going on, at pretty much any hour of the day. We all do. However, in general, I can honestly say I’m not very stressed. The main reason for this is due to my workout schedule, and the intensity of those workouts. When I get to the gym to take a class (5 days a week works best for me), I can shut off the rest of the world for a bit and enjoy focusing my effort solely on my workouts. Having great people to workout with as well as encouraging Coaches makes a world of difference. I know I can trust them to guide me to the best workout for me that day and not worry about making decisions or dealing with issues. That time is for me and some good old fashioned hard work. It’s amazing what an hour can do for your health and mindset. I look forward to my workouts because I know they recharge my battery and make me a better partner, person, Coach, friend, business owner and general all around person. I can tell my stress levels increase when I go more than a few days without working out (unless I’m on vacation or taking a week off intentionally – you need to do this too!), and I immediately feel the positive effects when I get back on schedule. Somewhat to the point of my last post on “Why Wait” I encounter quite a few people who are dealing with stressful situations in life and use the situation, or stress from the situation as a reason not to workout. If you’re feeling more and more stressed in life, dealing with, or have an upcoming stressful time in your life, you are going to make it far worse by not working out. Your body needs exercise to function optimally. Working out will allow you to handle stressful situations far better, and by a large margin too, than if you decide you’re too stressed to make time to workout. If you don’t believe me, give it a try. Next time you are stressed out, workout. Go for a bike ride and add in some higher intensity intervals here and there. Go to the gym, let your Coach guide you through the workout, don’t think, just work hard and enjoy the effort. Afterwards, you will feel better. You will also be able to step back into the situation or circumstances that stressed you out with a clearer mind, make better decisions, and because of this, help minimize stress in the future too. Don’t make excuses for yourself as to why you can’t exercise if you’re dealing with a difficult time in life. The best thing you can do is move, sweat, and let your body utilize exercise to help you process and manage stress. It’s worth the effort! Once you prove to yourself how well exercise can help you manage stress, you’ll have an incredible tool in your toolbox to help make you more effective as a spouse, parent, at work, and in everything else you do.