Low to medium intensity training is best
Puffing and panting at the end of your working day as if you were training for the Olympics? Please not. It’s true that the human physical reaction to stress has always been the instinct to move – and this is why it makes sense to react to stress with exercise. However: “Too much sport causes additional stress,” says Katja Marschall, sports scientist and therapist at the Clinica Holistica Engiadina burnout clinic in Susch.
To reduce tension, training at a low to medium intensity is best. The general guideline is: while practising the sports activity, a conversation should still be possible.
It’s the fun that counts
According to Katja Marschall, it's not the specific sport discipline that makes a difference, but the preference of the individual. It can be a moderate endurance sport like cycling, swimming, rowing, hiking or walking. Exercising in the natural outdoors increases the benefits for many people, says the sports therapist. But if you would prefer to go dancing, feel free.
How sport helps relieve stress in the long term
Others prefer a form of exercise that allows them to build up and/or relax muscles, such as Pilates or yoga. The key thing is that
- you enjoy the activity
- it provides a good experience
- it becomes part of your daily life
People who exercise regularly feel the benefits
a more balanced mood
moderate sport benefits the vegetative nervous system
strengthens the heart and immune system
lightens your mood
How to find motivation
It’s often difficult to get yourself moving after a hard day's work. A helpful method is to fix your activities in your diary and make plans to meet other like-minded people on a regular and binding basis. Meeting once a week with the Nordic Walking Club can be a good incentive, for example, in the same way as taking a course for a new sport could raise your chances of sticking at it.
It's also important to reserve enough time, as expending all your energy in a mad rush is just as counterproductive as aiming for the Olympics.