Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chill Out Challenge: Week 2 (stress reduction through exercise)

Dear Chill Out Challenge Participant:

Welcome to Week 2 of the Chill Out Challenge. This week’s post will focus on ‘stress reduction through exercise’.

How does exercise reduce stress?
  • Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your steps every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

  • It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner's high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.

  • It's meditation in movement. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you'll often find that you've forgotten the day's dilemmas and irritations and concentrated only on your body's movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.

  • It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. This can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

How to get started...

Every successful exercise program begins with a few simple steps:

  • Consult with your doctor. Always be sure to clear your level of activity with him or her!
  • Walk before you run. Start slow and work your way up
  • Do what you love.
  • Pick a time and stick to it.

Motivation to keep moving!
Starting an exercise program is just the first step. Here are some tips for sticking with a new routine or reinvigorating a tired workout:

  • Set some goals.
  • Find a friend.
  • Change up your routine.
  • Exercise = less stress
Whatever you do, don't think of exercise as just one more thing on your to-do list. Find an activity you enjoy — whether it's an active tennis match or a meditative meander down to a local park and back — and make it part of your regular routine. Any form of physical activity can help you unwind and become an important part of your approach to easing stress.

This info and more available at: http://mayoclinic.com/health/exercise-and-stress/SR00036


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