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Exercising for the mind – 3 tips to look good, feel great and perform at your peak: a guest blog post by Melanie Becker

Working in the modern world is a stressful endeavour. The day begins with a shriek from our alarms clocks closely followed by the rush to get to work on time and then dealing with staff / colleagues / bosses and the every demanding work load and timelines. But for women these stresses are even more acute: add in dropping the kids off,  doing the groceries, making dinner, picking the kids up etc it’s no wonder we often feel as though we are running to stand still. All this stress is bad (we all know it) and it affects our mood as well as our ability to perform at our peak in the workplace. Someone wise once said sometimes it’s easier to add things in that takes things away, this seems the only option in a society where things just need to get done. So what can you do to help reduce stress in your life?

 
Experts in stress management and counselling offer exercise as one of the leading factors in combating stress. Advantages include: increased endorphins, improved mood, minimised depression, improved concentration, building of self confidence and self esteem, feeling calmer and sleeping better. Still not convinced? The women’s sport foundation, “teens that play sports usually do not engage in sexual activity until later in life and are less likely to use drugs or be involved in abusive relationships than teens who do not play. Those students who play sport are also more likely to graduate from high school and college”.

One can easily see that adding exercise into your life is going to improve your mental state and inevitably your performance in the workplace. This has resulted in a multitude of wellbeing and wellness programs across Australia (and the world) aimed at helping workers combat stress in their lives in order to lower sick days and improve overall performance.
 
Many women get this far and nod knowingly and promise to join that gym or attend that yoga class their best friend keeps nagging them to go to and that’s where it ends. The excuses for not exercising are limitless and range from “I don’t know how” and “There isn’t a gym near me” to “I don’t have anything to wear”. So what can you do today from the comfort of your own home / workspace / office RIGHT NOW to get you that much closer to getting your groove on and beating that stress?
 
1)      Take out your diary / blackberry / iphone / calendar and allocate at least 2 hours a week for the next month where you promise to exercise and invite a friend to join you so you can’t back out
2)      Treat yourself to some fabulous new exercise gear to make you feel fabulous. Check out www.femaleforlife.com.au to find a fun style that suites your body shape (The site even allows you to see what the gear looks like on your body shape. They  cater for sizes 6 to 20 and post locally and internationally so let your credit card do the walking)
3)      Google search the yellow pages / Truelocal to find the nearest gym to you and see if they have multiple locations close to your workplace so you can go during lunchtimes if you have the time. If you can’t afford a gym or simple don’t like them then check out http://www.mapmyrun.com/ to plan a route to walk / run either close to home or close to work, whichever’s more realistic
 
So take action and add exercise into your life to get all those wonderful advantages and propel your career to new, calmer, and healthier heights.

About the Author |
Melanie Becker is the founder of www.femaleforlife.com which aims to make exercise inclusive rather than exclusive and make women feel fabulous on their journey to better health.
 

References:
1. University of California, Santa Cruz: Counseling and Psychological Services: www2.ucsc.edu
2. Psych Education Org: www.psychoeducation.org
3. About.com: Stress Management: www.stress.about.com
4. Faqs.org:  www.faqs.org/health
 

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