I am a marketing executive at an international airport, which means I am in charge of the teams that bring in new air service (super challenging these days) and market the many products and services we offer to travelers. That also means I’m busy and constantly under pressure to deliver. That comes with the job, I guess. But add to the mix a few stresses from home and a couple of life situations and things can start to pile up and make feel a bit overwhelmed.
The past couple of weeks serve as a great example.
- My oldest son was in an accident and his car is out of commission until fixed.
- My youngest son started college in the middle of COVID, adding a ton of unusual stress for him; his car battery died and his like-new tire went flat, so his car is also out of commission.
- And on top of everything, I am traveling out of state in a couple of days to move my dad and his wife into assisted living.
It’s during these times that our natural reaction is to stop taking care of ourselves and take care of everyone else. But doing that comes with a major risk of personal burnout or shutdown. So I’ve been super intentional about making time to work out this week. I’ve learned over the years that physical activity, and specifically working out, gives me energy and allows me to think through and process things that are starting to impact me emotionally.
Research by the Harvard Medical School shows us that there are incredible benefits to working out, and specifically, exercising to relax. But I like the list that Greatist put together of the 13 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise.
- Working out reduces stress
- Boosts happy chemicals (endorphins)
- Improves self-confidence
- Improves self-confidence even more if done in nature
- Prevents cognitive decline
- Alleviates anxiety
- Boosts brain power
- Sharpens your memory
- Helps manage addiction
- Increases relaxation
- Helps you get more done
- Boosts creativity
- Inspires others
Now that’s not to say that there isn’t a place or time for rest. There is. In fact, rest is one of the key foundations in my Fit at 50 program. But if you’re feeling overloaded or that there’s not enough of you to go around, a good session in the gym may just be what you need to make it through.