The debate on whether free weights vs training machines continues in the UAE. A Personal trainer and fitness expert in Abu Dhabi provides some great advice and tips on his preference.
Article Contributor: Andrew
Stress affects men and women of all ages in the UAE at some point in their lives and while short periods of stress are often unavoidable long term stress needs to be addressed for both physical and mental health reasons.
Whether stress is acute or chronic there is evidence that taking regular exercise at home, the gym or even outdoors can help to reduce and even eliminate stress.
In this article we hope you will find some useful information about how you can combat stress but it should also be pointed out that if you suffer from chronic stress because of your lifestyle you should also speak with a medical professional who can provide beneficial advice and tips about lifestyle changes.
Stress manifests itself in many different ways. Even if you think you’re the most chilled out person in the world, stress can often either hit you quickly or gradually creep into your life.
Stress is often described as physical or emotional tension that affects people in different ways. Some get angry, others get nervous or frustrated. People who are usually calm and collected might find themselves short tempered, unable to deal with everyday tasks like they normally would or even feel like they are on an emotional rollercoaster.
Because the term ‘stress’ is widely used it’s difficult to put these emotional and physical changes into one category – everyone feels the effects of stress differently.
How you handle stress depends on the type of person you are. Some people get stressed very easily while others tend to brush off stressful situations with little or no impact.
Stress is not a new condition. Many people in Dubai and Abu Dhabi will say that modern life is more stressful than times gone by but the fact of matter is stress has always been a part of life. How we understand and deal with stress has changed though (for the better)
In its simplest form, stress is caused by a chemical reaction in the brain when stress hormones are released into the body. It’s the ‘fight or flight’ response that causes the breath to quicken, the heart to start beating faster and the muscle to get ready for action.
This reaction is not always a bad thing, for example, some people say when they are stressed (temporarily) at work they perform better.
However, when the body is constantly bombarded with this stress response it can take its toll on the body, both mentally and physically.
Being (and feeling) stressed can cause minor and major health conditions depending on the level of stress and also whether it’s considered to be acute (short term) or chronic (long term).
Your age and other underlying conditions can also make stress worse.
Stress related physical conditions include:
As well as physical conditions, on-going stress can cause mental health problems including:
There are studies like the one found here that show long term stress can cause structural changes in the brain leading to mental health issues in adults.
The long term effects of stress on the body vary from person to person but anyone who has suffered from stress for a longer period of time will know that it can have such a negative effect on daily life and family life.
So many studies have shown over the years that exercise has a positive effect on reducing stress levels.
When we say exercise we don’t just mean physical activity in the gym or at home. Even taking a walk in the fresh air in the UAE can significantly make you feel better if you feel your stress levels are getting high.
However, if you suffer from chronic stress due to work, family or other lifestyle factors including a fitness program into your daily routine can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being.
According to a stress related article from the Mayo Clinic (a health related website) doing regular exercise can help the brain to release ‘feel good’ endorphins which in turn help combat the physical and mental feelings you get when you are stressed.
It’s clear to see with so many studies and research topics about the links between exercise and reducing stress that nearly all forms of exercise provide some degree of help. However, some exercise and training methods are better than others.
It’s not difficult to find a personal trainer in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah who can help you create a training plan to reduce unwanted stress in your life.
As well as helping you feel ‘more chilled’ exercise in general will only have positive effects in the rest of your life too – definitely a ‘win win’ situation.
Let’s take a look as some of the more popular exercise methods men and women in the UAE use to get rid of unwanted stress.
Say you’re stressed to a friend and it’s highly likely they will suggest Yoga. There’s good reason why Yoga is associated with reducing levels of stress.
Yoga is well known for being a ‘relaxation exercise’ That might sound confusing because many people in the UAE associate the word exercise with physical and demanding activity.
While Yoga does of course incorporate physical activity in its various styles and poses (asanas) Yoga teaches you how to be calm and centered. This has a tremendous effect on stress levels which is why it’s doubtful you’ll ever come across a stressed Yoga Guru.
Several studies, including one cited here found that practicing yoga reduced stress levels, high anxiety and even helped people cope with challenging situations better.
So how does Yoga help you reduce stress?
Yoga is also a gentle, low impact exercise which means it can be done by all ages from kids to seniors and is ideal for pre and post natal women too.
Boxing, kickboxing and martial arts in Abu Dhabi or Dubai are great ways to get and stay in shape there’s no doubt about that. However, these contact sports and their training methods they use are surprisingly good for stress management too.
How does boxing, kickboxing or martial arts training help with reducing stress and anxiety?
You don’t need to be strong, in perfect condition or even in peak physical condition to be able to enjoy boxing and other martials arts as a way to stay in control when it comes to stress. A great boxing coach or kickboxing personal trainer in Abu Dhabi or Dubai will start your sessions off from a very basic level.
Ever noticed how dancing can make you feel great? Even if your moves on the dancefloor aren’t what they used to be you can still get that great feeling for a high energy dance fitness class like Zumba, Aerobics or Step.
Generally, when we dance we feel happy. This happy feeling helps to counteract feelings of stress and anxiety. With a good Zumba class you might not be dancing the night away but you’ll definitely be dancing the stress away!
Not only will you be releasing lots of feel good chemicals when you start Zumba training in the UAE but you’ll be improving your overall fitness levels too.
No matter what age you are or what your current fitness level is Zumba personal training or a group dance fitness class is ideal because it can be tailored to your needs.
Although we’ve only gone into detail with a few stress relieving fitness options above there are plenty of others you can try. The great thing about exercise for stress relief is that you can choose the ones you like doing best.
There are definite links between stress, mental health and exercise. If you feel that stress in any form is taking its toll on your physical and mental well-being try different types of exercise and see how you feel.
You might be surprised that just a couple of sessions per week can put you in a much better place – physically and mentally.
If you need help deciding on what type of fitness routine would be best for you the male and female personal trainers and sports coaches on the UAE Personal Trainers website are ready to help with a free consultation.