Get into the zone and reduce stress with exercise through physical, mental, or spiritual techniques.
: Always consult a physician before attempting to do any exercise or exercise plan.
Step 1: Set a plan Set out a plan with conservative goals and stick to it. For example, commit to walking during your lunch hour three times a week.
Step 2: Stretch and stimulate Stretch to stimulate the nervous system and fight stress hormones. The resultant tightening of muscles will increase blood circulation compromised by high tension and inactivity. Merely moving has been shown to alter the brain's stress hormones.
TIP: Idly creating resistance by pushing against counters or twisting carefully while opening the fridge during meal preparation is still exercise of a sort that loosens and relaxes.
Step 3: Buddy up Buddy up with someone to create a friendly bond and an obligation to continue when your determination wanes. Knowing someone is also dedicated can motivate you, and is generally more fun.
Step 4: Change it up Change routines and try other types of conditioning to address prenatal, senior, or disability needs. Stay fresh and have fun, but stop at the first sign of pain. Listen to your body -- you're not in a race.
Step 5: Slow the heart rate Sit upright in a comfortable chair, one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. Inhale through your nose, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Push out by contracting abdominal muscles, feeling your stomach and hand move. This exercise will slow your heart rate, stopping stress before it begins.
Step 6: Get your heart rate up Join an exercise class in your area to maintain consistency and elevate endorphins. Do anything to get your heart going a little faster for at least 15 minutes a day. Even a few minutes can provide stress relief and improve overall health.
FACT: A 2010 study showed as little as 42 minutes of vigorous physical activity over a three-day period protects people from the effects of stress.