Wednesday 7 December 2016

Siobhan Byrne: Don't stress... train for body and mind

Exercising regularly benefits both your physical and mental well-being, says our fitness expert

Published 06/09/2016 | 02:30

Siobhan Byrne: exercise can play a key role in reducing stress
Siobhan Byrne: exercise can play a key role in reducing stress
Walkout push-up 1
Walkout push-up 2
Walkout push-up 3
Walkout push-up 4
Sumo squat 1
Sumo squat 2
Front Bridge to T 1
Front Bridge to T 2
Side lunge 1
Side lunge 2

Breathing techniques and meditation are great ways to help reduce stress, but exercise can also play a key role. This is because when you exercise you release endorphins, the body's natural pain killers.

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Exercising also lowers the levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which can interrupt sleep. We all know that we can deal with almost anything once we've had a good night's sleep. High levels of cortisol and adrenaline also interfere with weight loss.

As a trainer I see this frequently with clients during periods of high stress, when weight loss halts and they would store more water, especially around the waist.

You have probably heard the saying - strength training is the fountain of youth. Stress can be a big factor in early ageing. Many people would know someone who has aged significantly due to a period of very high stress, which brings us back to why sleep is so important.

If we can reduce our stress levels through exercise and allow our body to get a good night's sleep, it will produce our own natural growth hormone which helps the body repair and rejuvenate.

One of the main reason I'm such an advocate of strength training is because it helps to build and maintain muscle, which is something that can be easily lost due to stress.

Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that can break down tissue, and this in turn leads to muscle loss.

Wise up and make time for exercise in your life, not only for your shape but your future health and well-being.

Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one. When you have completed each exercise, that is one set. Catch your breath before moving on to the next set, and do three to four sets, three to four times a week

Focus on health #2

Walk out push-up

1/ Stand upright with your arms by your sides.

2/ Then bend forward at the waist and place your hands on the floor in front of you.

3/ Walk your hands out until your body is straight in the top position of a push-up.

4/ Perform a push-up, then walk your hands back in and return to the upright position.

Front Bridge to T

1/ Start by supporting your body off the floor, resting on your toes and elbows.

2/ Then raise one hand up towards the ceiling while rotating your body to the same side and look up at your hand. Hold that position for a few moments and then return to the start position twisting up to the opposite side.

Side lunge

1/ Stand upright with your arms by your sides.

2/ Then take a step to one side, lowering your body down and leaning your torso slightly forward, with your weight on the outside leg. Keep the trailing leg straight and then push off your leading foot to return to the start position. Repeat all reps on one side first.

Sumo squat

1/ Start by standing upright with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and with your toes pointing outwards.

2/ Lower your body towards the floor, pushing your hips back and down and bending your knees. Then return to start position.

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