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Exercise and Stress Relief

   It is well known that exercise helps to alleviate stress. In fact, the American Council on Exercise states that one of the most effective methods of stress relief is exercise. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Association endorses exercise as a way to reduce stress, and recommends cardiovascular exercise that elevates the heart rate for 30 minutes - three to four times per week. Physically, exercise improves your cardiovascular functions by strengthening and enlarging the heart, causing greater elasticity of the blood vessels, increased oxygen throughout your body, and can lower your blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. In addition to reducing stress, exercise also decreases the chances of developing heart conditions, strokes, or high blood pressure. Mentally, exercise can be a tremendous outlet for many frustrations and irritants which add more stress to your life. Exercise improves your mood by producing positive biochemical changes in the body and brain. Regular exercise reduces the amount of adrenal hormones your body releases in response to stress. Also, with exercise, your body releases greater amounts of endorphins, the powerful, pain- relieving, mood-elevating chemicals in the brain. Depression is often attributed to a lack these neurochemicals. Endorphins are natural pain killers and also help lift your mood. While different forms of exercise have different benefits, there is no one best exercise for stress relief. It all depends on your individual skills and interests. Determine whether you prefer exercising alone or doing activities with others. If the exercise is too easy, you will get bored. If it's too strenuous you will just feel more anxious and stressed. The key is discovering what works best for you and finding the right balance. Most importantly, choose activities that you enjoy and that are available and feasible for you to do regularly. Thinking of exercise as a form of self care instead of a burden or unpleasant task can assist you in establishing a permanent place for fitness in your life. Exercise is a great way to ease your tension, release anxieties, clear your mind and keep your body healthy. After a short time of consistent exercise you will feel so much better, you'll wonder what took you so long to get started.

by: Ernest Brandon