Coach’s Corner: Relieving Stress the Healthy Way

By James Scott

With crazy cab drivers, overpopulated subways and the language/cultural barriers, Shanghai can be a really stressful place. Furthermore, with all you can eat buffets, a happy hour on every corner and clubs that are open all night every night, it is easy to get sucked into these traps and develop a stressful, unhealthy life style. I will give you some simple and effective ways to deal with this stress and improve your health at the same time.

Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. These are free of charge, and the best thing is you don't need to leave your apartment or spend any money to start feeling better. Exercising helps you focus on a single task and forget about the daily worries you have been battling all day at the office. It can also increase self-confidence and improve sleep. All these benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

Interval Training

After a proper warm-up, start out by exercising (walking, biking, swimming, rowing) at a slow speed. After five minutes of exercising at this pace, increase the intensity (incline, speed, or resistance) and maintaining this intensity for two minutes. When completed, decrease the intensity to the same slow level you started at. Repeat this cycle five times.


Almost every health club in Shanghai offers some type of kickboxing class. If your gym doesn't or you prefer to workout at home, many of the local DVD stores sell kick boxing workout videos. This is an awesome workout and there is nothing like punching and kicking to help rid your body of stress.


Maybe the best stress relieving workout, yoga encourages you to focus on breathing, mind-body connection, meditation and stretching tight muscles. In the same case as kickboxing, if your gym doesn't offer yoga, there are many DVDs that allow you to do it right in your living room.

Strength Training

This is a great mental and physical way to reduce stress. Strength training improves your self-confidence and helps you build lean muscle and burn calories. When you are in a stressful mood, don't worry too much about your exercise programming – don't over-think the workout. Set aside 20 minutes and do the exercises you like to do. At home? No problem. A circuit of body weight exercises is all you need to relieve stress and start feeling better. Even a really quick workout is better than no workout at all.


There are many local sports organisations that are always starting leagues or even just open play on certain days each week. Playing sports are great because you’re not only moving around and burning calories, you get the opportunity to meet new people and, for the time you are playing, are only thinking about the game and not all the other problems that are stressing you out in the first place.

James Scott is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Shanghai Sharks. If you have a fitness question you’d like him to answer in a future column, please email him at [email protected].


Syndicate content