Should I Workout When on Sick Leave From Burnout?

Burnout from your job is something most people will experience at some point in time. Taking a sick leave can help you recover from burnout. But you might be uncertain about whether working out during your sick leave will help you recover or make your burnout even worse.

Working out when on a sick leave from burnout can help you recover from the burnout more quickly. Exercise releases endorphins, or “feel good chemicals”, and is a great way to refresh your mind and body so you can be focused and energised when you go back to work.

Are you still wondering how exercise can make you feel better after burnout from work? Keep reading onwards to find out.

How Does Exercise Relieve Burnout?

When you begin any sort of physical activity, there are a number of changes that occur in your body.

Your heart rate will generally increase from your resting heart rate. Your lungs will also have to work harder as oxygen is circulated throughout your bloodstream. In addition, extra blood will be circulated through your muscles, and you may even begin to feel a “pump.” Finally, a variety of chemical and hormonal changes occur.

The increased flow of blood and oxygen throughout your mind and body is associated with increased mental alertness. You may experience increased mental alertness not only during the workout itself, but well after the workout has ended.

This mental alertness is not only due to the increased flow of blood and oxygen itself. Many neurotransmitters, or chemicals that your nervous system uses as signals, are released during the course of exercise. One of the most important groups of those neurotransmitters are “endorphins.”

According to WebMD, “The neurone receptors endorphins bind to, are the same ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body’s endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.”

This combination of increased blood flow, oxygen, and neurotransmitter activity has several results. These include:

  • Boost creativity
  • Reduced stress
  • Increase quality of sleep

This will assist in recovery from burnout.

Aerobic Workouts To Relieve Burnout

According to Medicinenet, aerobic exercise is “brisk exercise that promotes the circulation of oxygen through the blood and is associated with an increased breathing rate.” Aerobic exercise also called “cardiovascular exercise” (or just “cardio”) is known to have many physical and mental benefits. It is associated with reduced rates of some cancers, diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis.

Running for a “Runner’s High”

Running is one of the easiest types of exercises to get started with. Simply put on some running shoes and go outside, or head to your local gym.

Finding a running partner can also give you a mental boost during your runs. You can help each other maintain a good pace and maybe even motivate each other to do longer runs than either of you would have wanted to do individually.

Beating Burnout With Your Bike

Riding your bike is a fun exercise for all ages. It is similar to running in that it can be done outdoors or indoors on a cycling machine. However, a bike allows you to travel longer distances much more quickly than you could by running, allowing you to explore different neighborhoods and scenery more easily.

Biking is also a low-impact exercise, meaning it is easier on your joints. For those facing joint issues, riding a bike is often a much better option than running.

The Elliptical Machine: A Full Body Blast

The elliptical machine is another good low-impact exercise option. On the one hand, it typically can only be done indoors. However, it can allow you to get a more intense and well-balanced upper body workout than you would typically get while riding a bike.

Don’t Feel Grim; Go for a Swim

Swimming is not only a low-impact exercise, but can provide additional benefits through the natural calming effects of being in water.

According to gr8ness, “seeing or hearing the soothing sounds of moving water triggers a response in our brains that induces a flood of neurochemicals. These chemicals increase blood flow to the brain and heart, which induces relaxation.”

Everyone from small toddlers, to older adults can relate to the fun and relaxing feeling of being in water.

Show Your Moves to Beat the Blues

When dancing, you can get a solid workout without even realizing it. If you already enjoy dancing, then you’ll be happy to know it can provide many similar benefits to light running or biking. In addition, it is a great way to improve your balance and coordination.

There is also the social component of dancing. Since social interaction can reduce stress, you could be helping your mind and body in more than one way at once.

Punching Your Way Out

While running, swimming, dancing, etc., can be great ways to burn stress, there is nothing quite like hitting a punching bag with all of your might. It can feel as if all of your accumulated frustrations are being destroyed with each successive punch.

Boxing offers an intense aerobic workout that also allows you to work out your upper body in ways that you wouldn’t through more common aerobic activities, such as running.

A punching bag can easily be set up in your basement, and an increasing number of gyms these days also have a punching bag. If you choose to go to the gym, it is often recommended to bring your boxing gloves.

Go for The Win with Sports

Essentially any sport offers aerobic benefits to various extents. Some sports, such as soccer, involve much more running, and therefore would provide a more intense aerobic workout. Other sports, such as golf, can be a way to relax a bit more while enjoying the beautiful outdoors with friends or colleagues.

Since most sports are not done alone, they can also provide further relief from burnout by providing an interactive, social experience and fun memories to look back on.

Anaerobic Workouts To Help Cure Burnout

Anaerobic exercise, in contrast with aerobic exercise, does not require your body to supply a continuous source of oxygen. Instead, it involves shorter, more intense bursts of activity. According to Healthline, anaerobic exercises can reduce your risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Muscle Your Way Through: Lifting Weights

These days, lifting weights is for everyone – it is not just for hardcore bodybuilders or athletes anymore. According to GlobalNews, lifting weights can help protect your bones from osteoporosis. Besides, having enough muscle mass for daily tasks can be an important factor in determining quality of life. So, starting a workout regime early on that involves lifting weights can help make your life much better decades into the future.

Forget the Weights: Calisthenics

Calisthenics is somewhat similar to lifting weights, except the motions typically involve using your bodyweight only. Push-ups, chin-ups, and bodyweight squats are all effective calisthenics exercises.

One benefit of calisthenics workouts is that typically less equipment is required. Even with just nothing but the floor, you can already workout your upper body with push-ups and your lower-body with squats, lunges, and deadlifts. For a more balanced and complete upper body workout, you can purchase a chin-up bar for a relatively low price.

Unleash Your Inner Usain Bolt with Sprints

While you may have thought all forms of running are considered aerobic exercise, sprinting actually is often considered an anaerobic activity. Due to the short, intense nature of a sprint (as opposed to a long-distance run), your body does not need to (or get the chance to) provide a continuous supply of oxygen.

Sprinting is a highly efficient way to get your endorphins pumping in a short amount of time, but make sure you do a proper warm-up, so you don’t pull any muscles.

Light Exercises for Burnout

If you are not looking for an intense aerobic or anaerobic workout, there are still many exercise options to help you recover from burnout.

Walk It Out

Walking is a great way to get outside, explore new areas, talk with friends, relax your eyes, and even practice maintaining a good posture. It is one of the most accessible forms of exercise.

One of the advantages walking has over other forms of exercise, such as lifting weights or jogging, is that you can usually walk even on days when you are recovering from a more intense workout.

Find Your Inner Peace with Yoga

Yoga is more than just exercise – it is about breathing, flexibility, and for some, there may even be a deeper spiritual component. According to John Hopkins, yoga relaxes you, reduces arthritis symptoms, and helps you sleep.

Yoga is something you can get started within the comfort of your own home with just a yoga mat. There are also many yoga studios that can provide guidance to your yoga practice, and many gyms these days offer group yoga classes.

Tai Qi: Mastering Energy Flow

Tai Qi, or “meditation in motion”, is an ancient Chinese mind-body practice that can improve your strength, flexibility, and balance, according to Harvard Health. It is based on the ideas of “qi,” which is energy flowing inside the body. Tai Qi is said to “unblock and encourage the proper flow of qi,” says Harvard Health.

Tai Qi is another convenient workout activity that you can get started in your own home.

A Comprehensive Workout to Eliminate Burnout

HelpGuide recommends a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, and balance and flexibility training.

Ultimately, the best workout may simply be the one you enjoy and can stick to. After all, even athletes, bodybuilders, etc., themselves can get burned out. Consult your doctor, and try different combinations of exercises out to see what works best for you.

No matter which exercises you choose to do, you will be increasing blood and oxygen flow to your brain, along with feeling the effects of powerful endorphins, which together will help your mind and body be healthy and ready to go by the end of your sick leave.

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