Move Your Body, Remove Your Stress

 

Most of us know exercise is important to staying healthy. Researchers at Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina recently reported that the mental ability of middle aged and elderly people showed improvement after as little as 16 weeks on a regular 30 minute, 3 times weekly aerobic program. People in wheelchairs and others with disabilities likewise have been shown to benefit from exercise.

 

Research has also shown exercise can be as effective as drug therapy in treating depression. When you exercise at a level where you force your heart rate up and work up a sweat for thirty minutes or more, three days weekly or more, you are going to have chemical reactions that can act like an antidote for stress. You’ve heard of runners’ high - where endorphin, a chemical produced in the brain, flows when you exercise.  Exercising gives you a terrific, empowered feeling. Exercise increases the release of endorphins – happy brain chemicals! Exercise also rids the body of by-products of stress, such as adrenaline. And because it exercise helps reduce fatigue, exercise increases the body’s capacity to cope with stress.

 

And we are not talking of training to run the Boston Marathon! We are talking a regular person walking fast or treadmilling or dancing, whatever, for 30 minutes three times a week or more  to get healthy. Even if you are not fit, within a few short weeks, you’ll start to reap the benefits. You will feel healthier, you’ll handle stress better.  In terms of general health, getting a good cardio work-out three or more times a week and doing some weight training to build and maintain muscles, makes great sense. If you are seriously seeking a way to reduce stress, exercising, with your doctor’s approval, is a very, very smart choice.

 

Note - make sure you get a decent pair of running shoes. It’s important that your feet be well supported.

 

Also, you may want to exercise with a friend, or a group of friends. It helps to keep motivated when you have at least one other person work out with. Once you get into exercising, your body will work better, feel better, be better. When stress happens, you’ll ward off the negative effects more rapidly. Your bounce back will be superior.

 

In addition to the aerobic workout, it is equally important to think of making the best of the rest of your body and limbs. If you are strong, toned, and well muscled, you will enjoy increased flexibility and not suffer the limitations that can prohibit your independence and mobility. An excellent book on strength training is by Dr. Miriam Nelson who researches at Tufts University. It’s called “Strong Women Stay Young”. It will give you scientifically proven, yet simple exercises that can reverse bone loss, improve energy and balance and replace fat with muscle. For men, these exercises are equally good for you.

 

Exercise is a key strategy in achieving and maintaining physical and mental well-being. When you’ve had an argument with your partner, been hassled by the bank, just driven 30 miles on an icy road, jump on the treadmill or a bike or go for a swim or a walk. The tension will lessen considerably. Every time you realize you are in a state of stress, exercise. Don’t say you don’t have time. Make time. It will stop the nicks being taken from your “tree trunk” it will retard the aging effect of bad stress, it will give you more energy, more focus, more health!

 

 

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