I find that if you ask most people how they are doing, the common response is “I’m so busy” or “I’m so stressed.” It’s so common, in fact, that we can often become desensitized to how dangerous chronic stress can be to our physical and emotional health, our relationships, and our careers.
We all know some of the physiological signs and consequences of stress: Chronic headaches, Neck and back pains, Muscle tension, High blood pressure, Elevated heart rate, Sleep deprivation, Fatigue, Can’t get pregnant, Losing or gaining weight, Dizziness and Nausea. These symptoms and conditions are very real, and over time, can be extremely dangerous.
We are also aware of many of the stressors in our lives: family, health, finances, jobs, relationships, caregiving, aging, and having too much to do and not enough time to do it!
What is interesting and creates challenges for health and fitness professionals working with “stressed out” clients, is that it isn’t necessarily the “stressor” that creates the “stress” and the physical and emotional symptoms and outcomes—but it’s our PERCEPTION of the stressor that has the greater impact. You can have two different individuals who are confronted with the same stressors—but their reaction and the impact on their health can be completely different.
By helping clients maintain an active lifestyle and regularly engage in safe, effective exercise–we are directly addressing many of the physiological effects and causes of stress. Exercise alone can be extremely beneficial in managing stress and minimizing the negative impact stress can have on our health. But what is less clear and direct is how we can help them change their PERCEPTION of stress and their confidence in their ability to manage stress and be resilient.
Lifestyle and Fitness Coaching is a growing field and many fitness professionals incorporate coaching strategies into their Personal Training sessions. W.I.T.S. new Lifestyle Fitness Coaching Certification provides Personal Trainers with the tools needed to help clients in adopting healthy behaviors including stress management.
What are your experiences with “stressed out” clients? Are you noticing an increase or change in the prevalence of stress? What are some of the tools and strategies you use to help your clients with managing and minimizing stress in their lives?
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!