Using Exercise to Beat Stress

Using Exercise to Beat Stress

Nothing can beat regular exercise as a stress-busting technique. The result of the 'fight or fight' reaction is that our bodies go into a state of high arousal but there is often nowhere for that energy to go, so our bodies can stay in this state for hours at a time. Exercise is the best way to dissipate the excess energy, especially if you have a sedentary job.

It's a good idea to channel your energy into proper exercise, be it a brisk walk, a run, a bike ride or a game of squash. You don't need to join a health club— exercise can be as informal as taking the dog for a walk, or dancing at home to your favorite music.

Walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, aerobics classes or DVDs, and dancing are all great forms of exercise. If you choose something you enjoy, it won't feel like a chore. It is also a good idea to vary your activities to avoid boredom. For example, if you normally exercise indoors, try an outdoor activity.

Even the least fit among us usually are able to incorporate some walking into our schedules. An organized walking routine can be a great form of aerobic exercise. It's free, and strengthens the heart and lungs as well as the legs. It also helps to prevent osteoporosis, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, helps with diabetes, and increases flexibility.

Walking for 30 minutes most days can be an easily achievable target, perhaps walking all or part of the way to work, or a 15 minute burst at lunchtime and another in the evening. As your fitness improves, you could even try alternating with a slow jog.

Practice yoga as it reduces stress and improves strength, flexibility, coordination, circulation and posture. It may even reduce the frequency of asthma attacks.

 

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