Stress is the trash of modern life – we all generate it but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life.- Danzae Pace

Exercise is a great way to keep healthy, and not just for heart health and weight management. An exercise routine can be a great way to handle stress overload.  Results of a regular exercise program can help combat the fight or flight response naturally.  Engaging in regular activity helps to slow heart and breathing rate as well as lower your blood pressure- the opposite effects of the stress response.

Exercising also has a positive effect on your mood as well. Activity, such as cardio or walking briskly help release the feel good hormones called endorphins. This hormone gives us a sense of calmness overall and kicks out feeling stressed.

The idea is to engage in a form of exercise you enjoy. I like to think about it as movement or activity.  When you add a work out into your day that you enjoy it puts a whole new light on stress relief. Let’s explore ways to use exercise to reduce your stress:

Stretching. Add stretching throughout your day. This is a great way not only to reduce muscular tension but to increase overall alertness and circulation, too. If you sit at a desk for any period of time during the day you know how important it is to stretch.  Stretches can be used before and after exercise to loosen up tight muscles. Incorporate yoga practice can also address stretching and flexibility.

Pick and activity- any activity. Going to the gym isn’t the only way to work out. Other sports, such as tennis, golf or bowling get you moving doing an activity you enjoy. I am truly looking forward to gardening this year. Planting and getting my hands in the dirt relaxes me tremendously. Other clients of mine enjoy hiking in the mountains that gives them a total sense of well-being.

Walking.  Walking for any length of time can be a great way to stay in shape. One client told me how she measures her steps everyday to see how many miles she racked up just as work.  It was a way to fit activity into an already busy day. You can control your walking pace. Walking really can help you clear your head and calm your mind as well. If your job is basically sedentary, find a beautiful local park to take even a 20 minute stroll.

As a rule, check with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program. And don’t overdo it That can lead to the quickest form of exercise burnout and possible injury. Get moving and reduce some of your stress. For over 25 years in the health care profession, Lisa Birnesser has studied stress relief techniques and have helped hundreds of people reduce stress in their lives. Lisa specializes in stress management coaching by helping people do what matters most every day.


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