‘Is it OK to do high intensity training, such as HIIT classes or boxing, if we are prone to stress?’
Trevor Thieme, director of fitness and nutrition content for home fitness and wellness app, Openfit* (openfit.com; @myopenfit) ‘Absolutely! But balance is key. If you do high-intensity exercise too frequently, you can over-stress your body, which can manifest in decreased workout performance, excessive fatigue, agitation, moodiness and disturbed sleep. If you’re just beginning your exercise journey, work your way up to HIIT, don’t jump into it right away.
If you’re a veteran exerciser, it’s generally a good idea to engage in HIIT no more than every other day, to give your body enough time to recover so you can keep performing at your peak. ‘Moderate-intensity exercise, such as steady-state running and cycling, can also result in a calmer mind and better mood. The jury is still out on whether high- or moderate-intensity workouts are better for reducing stress.
Is it OK to do high intensity training, such as HIIT classes or boxing, if we are prone to stress? Photo Gallery
All that science has proven is that both work well in that regard and do a better job of it than low-intensity exercise and weightlifting. Exercise also helps mitigate the stress you might experience in the future. Remember, exercise is a stressor – you adapt to that stress not only by becoming stronger and more powerful, but also by becoming more mentally resilient.’
Whether it’s working from home, missing loved ones or simply juggling the demands of everyday life, few of us have been able to escape feeling stressed over the past few months. In fact, even before the pandemic took hold, 74 per cent of Brits admitted to feeling under pressure, and nearly 18 million working days were lost as a result. Fortunately, exercise is a great way to combat mental tension. Indeed, NHS research shows that working out every day can reduce your risk of stress and anxiety by more than 40 per cent. Of course, we all know how much better we feel after a good run, challenging workout or calming yoga session, but what’s the best type of exercise for reducing your stress levels and could you even be doing too much? Read on to find out the best way to boost those feel-good endorphins…