Holiday Heat-Up – Workout The Stress: Week #1

Holiday Heat-Up – Workout The Stress: Week #1

The holiday season is known as “the most wonderful time of the year”, yet it’s also notoriously known to bring on stress. To-do lists pile up, shopping lines at a standstill, and every festive tune you hear is a reminder that days are numbered to get everything done! Now lets add in the family events and holiday parties with yummy foods, desserts, and cocktails you can’t resist! All these festivities keep you busy, but where do you find time for yourself?

What is stress?
Stress, is also known as… strain, pressure, tension, worry, anxiety, trouble, difficulty, and hassle that affects the mind and physical body. It’s a silent killer that affects our moods, our thoughts, and seems to happen unexpectedly.

Exercise & Stress
Exercise or movement in any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active boosts your “feel-good” endorphins and distracts your mind from daily problems.
Why is it that we all know exercise is good for us and can help the body in many ways- especially combatting stress, but yet some may be too busy to fit it into your schedule? Troublesome to many- maybe excuses for others… but I have some good news when it comes to exercise and stress…

Any form of exercise can act as a stress reliever and work your body in positive ways. Whether it be aerobic conditioning or yoga meditation, movement can go a long way towards managing stress relief. Making the commitment for even 5 minutes daily can embed a desire that makes you craving more each day!

*NOTE: Although 5 minutes of movement daily is a good start and is worthwhile, do not think this short amount of time can accomplish big goals such as weight loss, toning, and muscular development. If your goals are to accomplish a specific fitness goal, more time must be committed and focused towards that task.

Exercise & Stress Relief Benefits
Listed below are some benefits that physical movement can help with relieving stress from your holiday tasks.
• Increases overall sense of wellbeing
• Boosts your brains feel-good neurotransmitters (AKA, endorphins)
• Elevates brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which increases your capacity and rate of learning.
• Boosts BDNF as much as antidepressants if not more!
• Promotes brain stimulation
• Prevents stress by assisting the body to cope with unexpected physical or emotional stresses
• Balances neurotransmitters in the brain to increase awareness
• Aids in dealing with anxiety or mental thoughts occurring
• Delivers mental clarity and improves self-esteem by regulating the neurotransmitters of the brain.
• Reduces stress & boost self esteem
• Improves sleep & moods
• Motion creates meditation as you focus energy on a task, you are able to remain calm and clear in everything else going on

Regular Exercise will also…
• Strengthen your heart
• Increase energy levels
• Decreases blood pressure
• Improves muscle tone and strength
• Strengthens and builds bones
• Helps reduce body fat
• Makes you look fit and healthy

All of these positive benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of control over your body and your life! Not such bad stuff, right??

Due to busy schedules, limited time, and holiday festivities to enjoy, I have created a stress reducing, calorie-blasting 3 week workout series that will get your body moving, sweating and releasing stress in minimal time!

YOGA FLOW to LET GO – Perform this series of yoga poses on your Total Gym to free your mind, experience flowing movements in your muscles, and focus on letting go of your stresses from the holidays!

Listed are two workout days per week including yoga-strength & plyometrics. The third day is added if you have extra time in your week to squeeze in an extra workout. This one focuses primarily on a yoga flow warm-up and cardio to get a quick sweat so you feel invigorated.

NOTE: Although spending more time dedicated to yourself per week is ideal, I have taken into account the reality of most peoples’ lives during the holidays. If your schedule permits more time on certain days, strive to perform longer sessions or extra cardio. If you can workout more than 3 days per week, go for it! The more you can commit to, the better your mind and body will feel. Be honest with yourself and make it convenient so that you will stick to it. Reality is, working out is a stress reliever, not something that should stress you out. So, commit to a time frame at least 2-3 days a week, or more, and make it happen!

How does each week work?
Each week your workout will change by adding new exercises. The workouts consist of strengthening yoga poses using the Total Gym and plyometric movements that drive the heart rate up to burn more calories, melt the fat, and tone your muscles.

Perform the exercises listed below (days 1 & 2) on two nonconsecutive days throughout the week. Day 3 is listed as a bonus day to “Sweat Out Cardio” if your schedule permits the extra time. If you are able to commit to a daily routine, I have added extra cardio guidelines to sweat off the extra stress. Simply follow the weekly plan the best you can and spend more time when you are able!

*Directions listed below.
*Refer to the accompanying video to see and learn the exercises.

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Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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