Sweat out the stress

STRESS and anxiety are emotional strains that most people face at different times of their lives.

In fact, stress is known to cause chest pain, rapid heartbeat and loss of sex drive and this can eventually lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and infertility.

But cheer up! An inexpensive and effective way to improve your health is exercise.

Even a short workout can do a lot to relieve the burden and weight of stress.

According to health studies, regular exercise will help lower tension, elevate your mood and improve self-esteem.

Like me, I am sure that you have friends who don’t exercise often enough. They prefer to relax at home, hang out at shopping malls or watch movies at cineplexes.

Only on free weekends do some of my friends go out to exercise — that is if time, weather, companion, mood and whatever reason permits.

My job as a journalist is full of stress, having to chase stories and meet daily deadlines.

But I find that even a short workout such as cycling, running or swimming does wonders after a hard day’s work.

There are many places in Penang where we can go walking, cycling or running.

If you are into swimming, there are two public pools on the Penang mainland where I live — in Seberang Jaya and Taman Betek, Bukit Mertajam.

For those who are into alternative forms of exercise, we have an increasing number of yoga centres in Raja Uda and other housing areas.

For cyclists, the mainland has many scenic countryside routes for leisurely rides while those keen on mountain biking could check out the forest trails at places like Sungai Lembu or Cherok To’Kun.

You may also want to try cycling along trails surrounding padi fields in Kubang Semang or Pekan Darat.

Cycling groups such as LP MTB and BM Bike Hash can advise and guide beginners.

With confidence, you could sign up for the annual 138km TriState road-cycling event organised by G-Club Penang Cyclists group.

Avid hikers can venture up Bukit Berapit or tackle the 4km Bukit Mertajam forest reserve (Cherok To’kun), both located in BM.

Runners looking for a safe route can head to the stadium in Bukit Mertajam which has a track and is open to the public.

For scenery, there is a beautiful trail with parks along Sungai Derhaka in Seberang Jaya where many anglers, joggers and walkers will gather in the mornings and evenings. It can be accessed from Jalan Tenggiri and Jalan Todak.

I am sure Penang island offers similar places for the public to walk, hike, swim or cycle.

Some of these sites could be near your homes, so there is no excuse for not exercising.

Even a 30-minute evening jog or walk around the neighbourhood will do some good if you don’t feel like going far.

Burn fat, not fuel, and you will enjoy a healthier lifestyle and feel more energetic at work.

Sweat it out and you will take the stress out of your daily routine.

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