Stress In The Workplace: How Fitness Can Help

Stress is part of life and business, fitness provides an essential tool to manage it. Left unchecked, stress may cost your company time, money, and team morale. 

 

How Stress Can Harm Your Team

You may have heard of the “fight or flight” response. When we face high-stakes situations the body prepares for immediate action by releasing a cocktail of hormones including cortisol and adrenaline. Once the danger is gone, the nervous system and hormone level normalize. 

While “fight or flight” can literally save lives during an emergency, sometimes the human body doesn’t distinguish between the stress of a life-threatening emergency and the stress of meeting an important deadline. Many people experience chronic stress which can lead to burnout, anxiety, and a range of illnesses. 

Stress response is highly personal and varies from one person to the next. A few common causes of workplace stress include:

  • Job conditions involving exposure to risks, danger, or physically demanding circumstances.
  • Uncertainty or fear about the future.
  • Unresolved conflicts, strained workplace relationships, and for some people feelings of isolation.
  • Changing work roles, environment, workload, or management especially if the worker liked the way things were.

The past year was stressful for many people. In fact, 66.9% of workers report higher levels of workplace stress in 2020, according to a survey of workers in seven countries conducted by Qualtrics and reported by Statista. Normally around 33% – 37% of adults report increased “stress,”  according to Statista

Stress manifests itself both physically and emotionally. Symptoms of unresolved stress include:

  • Trouble getting enough high-quality sleep
  • Digestive issues like upset stomach or “butterflies”
  • Frequent tension headaches and other aches and pains
  • Conflicts and tensions in relationships
  • Feeling angry, upset, and losing temper
  • General feelings of unhappiness with work and life

Over time, stress can contribute to illness and mental health difficulties. Employers pay the price through increased sick days, increased medical costs, losing good team members to burnout, and lost productivity. 

How Fitness Combats Stress

Preliminary results from a recent Iowa State University study found that people who frequently exercised had an easier time dealing with the stress associated with self-quarantine in 2020. On the flip side, participants with a more sedentary lifestyle reported more depression, anxiety, and other stress-associated mental health concerns. 

Regular exercise reduces the level of stress hormones in the body while promoting the release of feel-good endorphins. Also, improved physical fitness empowers a person to face challenges confidently and with improved stamina. 

According to Harvard Health, just about any type of exercise helps people manage stress especially if the exerciser enjoys the activity. However, some types of workouts offer special benefits:

  • Aerobic exercise trains the heart, lungs, and circulatory system. It also releases feel-good endorphins. 
  • Strength training, anaerobic circuits, and calisthenics also help release pent-up energy, improve stamina, and train the body to react to those fight or flight instincts. 
  • Mind-body workouts like yoga, guided relaxation, and tai chi promote meditation, deep breathing and help train the body for relaxation. Including a calming cool down after a vigorous workout may offer similar benefits. 

Fitbod Offers Easy Workplace Fitness Solutions 

When it comes to fitness, there is no such thing as “one size fits all.” Individuals on your team may range from someone who is sedentary to a semi-professional athlete.

On-site exercise classes are a scheduling nightmare and also fail to address the fitness needs of your diverse staff. With Fitbod you get the individual attention of a personal trainer with a convenient, budget-friendly smartphone app.

When you purchase a one-year membership for your employees, each receives custom-tailored workouts throughout the year. Our AI-powered trainer factors in the individual’s history, fitness level, and any equipment available in their gym or at home. 

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