Taking inner pain and turning it into something that works for you.
Everyone likes to talk about the winners in life. It probably seems that every time you turn around there’s yet another big Hollywood feel good movie coming out, or some romantic comedy that women try to drag their boyfriends or husbands to see. But in reality, things are very different. Real life has nothing to do with fairy tales. In fact, experiencing loss is something that many people in our modern world don’t view as a natural part of life.
Take marriage for instance. While the venerated institution of marriage used to mean that people actually took their vows seriously, today, according to the most recent U.S. Census Reports (2010), for the first time ever, more people are not tying the knot than those who are. And it’s no wonder, divorce rates are at their highest ever, and the actual process of divorce is actually equivalent to losing a loved one, psychologically and emotionally speaking.
Losing a close friend or relative can also be quite heartbreaking. The typical rollercoaster of emotions that a person experiences after a heavy loss is: Shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, and finally, acceptance and a hope for the future.
This myriad of emotions also affects those who may have just been diagnosed with a severe, life-altering illness, or serious condition. Whatever the case may be, we’ve come up with some valuable tips on how to help ease the pain, as well as eventually jump-start the overall healing process. Just remember, however bad things might seem at a particular time, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and a new world just ahead.
Plyometric exercises are specifically designed to develop speed and power. They are often utilized by athletes (of various levels) to increase or hone their specific athletic capabilities. Whether that be to deliver peak speed performance, boost their vertical jump, or enhance their overall strength and power.
In this regard, plyometrics are also perfect for relieving stress, and in turn, funneling out feelings of anger or angst. They can also trigger the release of endorphins, those pleasure-happy-happy hormones, throughout your body, which can go a long way in helping you to recover from whatever ails you. Here are several plyometric exercises that can get you started.
Burpees: Long used by military personnel, burpees are unparalleled in working out your upper and lower body, while also giving you a pretty intense cardiovascular session. First, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and arms raised straight into the air. Reach downwards with your hands as if to touch your feet while you squat down into a crouching position. Kick your feet out behind your body and land in a plank position. Perform a single pushup, and when you’re back in the plank position raise back up to a standing position with your arms raised once more. Repeat this exercise ten to twenty times for four sets.
Jump Lunges: Settle into a balanced lunge position, with one foot in front of your body, and one behind it. Keep your hips low and place your hands on your hips. Leap upwards from the lunge position and scissor your legs so that your lead foot is now behind you and the rear foot is in front, while settling gently into another lunge position. Keep switching sides while softly transitioning into each lunge position, and keep your core muscles tight.
Long Jump: You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to get the benefits of this highly explosive, total body exercise. Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Squat down into a crouched position and hold your arms behind the rest of your body, straightened out. Concentrate on where you want to land and spring forward using all of your body’s power, while swinging your arms forward to help your momentum. Land on the balls of your feet and make sure that your knees are bent to help absorb the shock. Turn around and repeat the exercise back to your original position. These are best when performed outside since the natural earth absorbs more of the shock.
Ball Press Jumping Jacks: Grasp a weighted exercise ball firmly in your hands and stand with your feet together. Position the ball to approximately chest level and hold it in your hands with a firm but relaxed grip. Jump your feet out horizontally beyond shoulder width while simultaneously pressing the ball straight out in front of you. Jump back upwards to the standing start position while bringing the ball back to your chest.
Martial arts have long been used for personal defense. They can also whip you into shape through the constant practice of their various techniques. A lessor known byproduct of martial arts training is stress relief. If you’re feeling like you’ve got some anger or sadness bottled up and need to do something with it, try getting enrolled in a local martial arts school or class. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be excellent for developing not only your martial prowess, but also your flexibility, balance and coordination, and confidence. Others, such as Kickboxing, are extremely good for developing your striking skills, as well as boosting up your cardiovascular strength. And come on—hitting those punching bags can really release a ton of stress. Check a few out in your local area and see which ones fit your schedule as well as what you want to accomplish, defense and stress release-wise.
Invest in a Smith Machine
Say that you’re feeling a little down and don’t necessarily feel like going to a gym and mingling with the many people that you’ll encounter there. Well luckily, today more than ever before, home gyms are both easier to set up, and also more affordable than they have been in the past. A Smith machine, in particular, is a very important piece of equipment because it allows you to work out nearly every muscle in your body. This not only tires you out, but also relieves a lot of stress. Here are a few essential exercises to get you started.
Squats: Begin by nuzzling your trapezius muscles underneath the smith machine’s barbell. Grasp the bar, fingers forward, at points a few inches out from your shoulders. Be sure to have your feet placed under you at approximately shoulder length, and then lift the weight up out of the machine’s weight track. Keeping your back straight and head up, squat downwards while bending at the knees. When your thighs form a 90 degree angle with the floor, contract your thighs and gluts as you gradually rise back to the starting position. Perform 10 to 12 reps for 4 sets. These are excellent for your upper legs and gluts.
Rows: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend slightly at the knees. Bend at your waist and lean forward until your chest is parallel with the floor. Grasp the lowered bar in a firm, overhand grip. Steadily (don’t jerk) raise the bar upwards toward your chest as far as you can. Lower the bar back down to its original position while keeping your chest as still as possible. Repeat this back-blasting exercise for until you’ve completed 12-14 reps for 3 to 4 sets.
Shoulder press: Sit on a workout bench evenly between the Smith machine’s weight tracks. Position the bar so that it is just above your shoulders. Grasp the bar in an overhand grip, and then raise it upwards to that your arms are almost straightened completely out (be sure to keep them slightly bent) and contract your shoulder muscles. Gradually lower the bar back until it touches your trapezius muscles, then press it back upwards. Repeat for a total of 4 sets, performing 10-12 reps for each set.
Things Will Get Better
As you utilize any of these highly effective stress relieving modes of exercise, you’ll begin to see that your overall mood will shift into a more positive light. Not only that, but you’ll also feel more energized, focused, and have better mental clarity throughout the day. This, in turn, will allow you to be able to perform tasks more efficiently, whether at work or play.
Working within these guidelines can also greatly boost your confidence, and get you out of any rut that you may be in. Remember, life is not a fairytale, but with enough self-discipline and perseverance, it can sure seem like one.
Be sure to check out Marcy Pro to check out our wide variety of fitness equipment, and help us change your life!