Each of use deals with stress each day. Demands on our time, money troubles, relationship issues – all of this can cause large amounts of stress. Stress takes its toll on the emotional, bodily and mental levels of our person. While some stress can actually be good for your health, excessive, prolonged stress increases your chances for disease, makes your cells age more quickly, and can lead to a sense of constant fatigue and malaise.
The best way to combat stress, of course, is to avoid getting stressed out in the first place. However, this is not a realistic option for most people. Stress has become a fact of life for most of us almost as much as has eating, sleeping and breathing.
The next-best way to combat stress is to find ways to reduce or alleviate stress. By taking the right actions, you can actually reduce your stress levels, resulting in a happier, healthier you.
Physical exercise is one excellent way to reduce stress. There are three types of physical exercise: stretching, cardiovascular, and resistance training. Here are more details about these stress relief exercise ideas that you can benefit from:
Stretching exercises help to stimulate the nervous system in ways that reduce the body’s production of stress hormones. Stretching also reduces overly-tight muscles, thereby increasing circulation throughout the body.
Cardiovascular – or aerobic – exercise involves any constant body movement performed for at least 20-30 minutes (preferably 3-4 days per week) that increases the heart rate and gets blood flowing throughout the body. Running, swimming, walking, rowing and other types of sports are all ways to work the cardiovascular system. Elevating your heart rate for extended periods of time contributes to better blood flow and the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pleasure chemicals. All of these factors contribute to reduced levels of stress.
Meanwhile, resistance training – also called strength training – helps build muscle tone and mass. Besides improving posture and reducing the chances for bodily injuries, resistance training also leads to the release in the body of stress-reducing endorphins.
Bonus tip: try exercising outdoors in a natural environment (away from cars and other polluted places). The increased levels of fresh air and, when available, sunlight contribute to a more stress-free experience. And, when possible, try working out with other people. Having an exercise buddy can keep you motivated to continue with regular exercise. And, doing so adds a social dimension to the experience which can be help reduce stress, as well.
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