How highly sensitive people should exercise to avoid overwhelm

Do you find the world overwhelming? Are you hypersensitive to touch, noise or your surroundings? Do you find yourself deeply moved by art, culture or nature? you could be a ‘very sensitive person‘ (HSP) – a personality type identified by Dr. Elaine Aron in her book highly sensitive person in 1996.

For an HSP, many experiences are overwhelming. And where is there more of a sensory overload than a Gym? The spaces are packed with lots of people and lots of equipment, with noise hitting your ears from every direction. In a hurry not better There’s always someone or something to look at, changing weather hitting your face, and a racing heartbeat that can cause distractions.

ash alves is an HSP and founder of the wellness organization . She says exercise can be difficult, as she “gets so excited by what’s going on around me that it’s hard for me to focus on what I’m doing.

“The PAS are very aware of the noise, the lighting, the facial expressions of the people who are next to us. We tend to tune in to things going on around us and it can make it very difficult for us to focus on our own sessions.

“On top of that, we pick up the nuances and little details of things. Running, we notice everything that is changing, both internally and externally.”

It’s not just that they’re easily aroused, stimulated, and distracted that make exercise difficult for HSPs. “The reason we are so sensitive to these things is because HSPs have central nervous systemsAlves says.

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A woman walking through the woods

Being in nature can help highly sensitive people

Since exercise touches the nervous system, exercise can also be internally stimulating: a racing heart during HIIT can feel intense to us, but if you’re incredibly aware of even small changes, it can be overwhelming. “I am able to handle that level of excitement, but all HSPs are different. And it’s not something you can do for a long period of time; Let’s just say if I run without headphones, I can hear everything inside of me to the point where it’s distracting.”

Is exercise good for highly sensitive people?

All we know about exercise is that it is designed to help with mental health. That includes HSPs. A magazine article. Nature found that “contemplative practices,” which include mindful walking or running outdoors, improve well-being in HSPs, perhaps by giving them time to process their thoughts.

“Highly sensitive people live in a rich and complex world. It means that we have a tendency to ruminate and think about the past and reflect on things that have happened. I think exercise helps us get out of our heads and allows us to be really present in our bodies,” says Alves.

“I also think the general benefits of exercise translate very well to HSP. When you take care of yourself and feel better mentally, physically, and emotionally, it can help you when you feel overstimulated. You know that you have taken time to take care of yourself and you are able to respond from that place of well-being and wholeness instead of feeling more exhausted from not taking care of your body.

The best type of exercise for HSP

The type of movement you choose can be crucial in helping or hindering your sensitivity. That doesn’t mean there is a general approach: each HSP will respond differently to movement. For example, Alves says that he has to listen to music when he runs to avoid physical and environmental distractions.

But for Lauren Geall, StylistFor the digital writer, running without headphones is best. “As someone with a rich and complex internal thought process, I don’t need the added distraction as I’m often busy with my thoughts when I’m out for a run,” she says.

Alves suggests the following as a place to start with movement if you are a HSP who is struggling with movement overstimulation.

Try to move alone

This could mean staying home or only going to the gym during quiet times, rather than peak hours. It’s a simple way to limit distractions.

go outside

That deep connection with nature can be a gift: take advantage of it. “Running in a calm environment can be a very important way to come to terms with my senses and relax,” says Alves.

Focus on low-impact movements

“I think slow exercise, like yoga, is important to connect with the body. It means that you are not being pushed into the external environment and you are not decompressing by releasing any tension through stretching,” says Alves.

For tips on how to move well and healthy recipes to support your exercise regimen, check out the Strong Women Training Club.

Images: Getty

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