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Relieving Stress with Exercise

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Stress Relief Exercises

Exercise for Relieving Stress may be in the form physical, mental, or spiritual exercise - or a combination of all three, e.g. yoga. What is good for the body is good for the mind and vice versa.

stressed girl

Physical exercise is one of the most effective ways of relieving stress. Exercising the body regularly is very effective in managing stress, on its own or as a part of a stress management plan. Getting into better shape improves your mental health as well as your physical health.

When we physically exert ourselves, the body releases chemical substances (endorphins) that are similar in nature to opiates. These natural substances produced by our own bodies are free of side effects, except for making us feel good.

When it comes to stress management, every little bit of exercise counts. Don't think if you can't commit to a stringent fitness routine that it's useless. It's not. What motivates people to do more of something is to do little of something.

Exercises to Suit Everyone

From doing gentle stretching exercises to keeping up in a physically demanding aerobics class, stress relief can be achieved through a wide range of activities. Some people enjoy the solitude of walking alone. Other people need the stimulation of interacting with others, whether walking in a group, participating in a yoga class or other fitness class, or playing a sport such as tennis, racquetball, etc. Interacting with other people during exercise can provide additional stress relief.

Exercise in a Natural Environment Provides Additional Stress Relieving Benefits

Obviously it is more relaxing to walk along a nature trail than to walk along a busy street. Natural surroundings trigger relaxation responses deep in the brain. Even mentally picturing being surrounded by mountains, trees, or watching the waves roll in at the beach can have this calming effect.

*Exposure to daylight also has positive effects on mood - another benefit of exercising outdoors.

Aerobics

Any activity that gets your heart pumping (aerobc exercise) will get those endorphins flowing and relieve stress. Though you should check with your doctor before embarking on any exercise program, walking is usually safe for anyone.

Try to get your heart going a little faster for at least 15 minutes a day. Even a few minutes here and there of brisk walking can provide stress relief and improve your overall health.

Strengthening Exercises

Though not generally as effective as aerobics for relieving stress, many people find that getting into a strengthening exercise program does relieve stress.

Strength exercises are also important to prevent injury during aerobic exercise by strengthening the muscles that support your joints. A toned body has as much impact on mental wellness as physical wellness.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises stimulate receptors in the nervous system that decrease the production of stress hormones. Stretching exercises also relax tight, tense muscles and increase blood flow to the muscles.

Mind-Body Exercises

Yoga exercises involve the body, mind and spirit. Yoga poses improve flexibility and strength and incorporate breathing techniques that aid in relaxation and general wellness.

Stress relief exercises that don't involve movement but involve both mind and body include meditation exercises and deep breathing exercises - both have been shown to reduce blood pressure.

Self-Indulging Activities Alleviate Stress

On the days you don't exercise, do something else you find relaxing - whether getting some massage therapy, soaking away stress in a soothing aromatherapy bath, etc.

Your health is important. It is not selfish to spend time on yourself! How can you have the energy to take care of others unless you take care of your self?

Make fitness a priority. Exercise effectively relieves depression and anxiety. Find an activity that you enjoy and feel the stress melt away. Relieving Stress by exercise, especially aerobic exercise, has been proven to be highly effective.

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