Starting a Stress Reduction Exercise Program
Now that you know exercise can make a big difference in controlling stress, make some time for regular physical activity. We'll help you get started by listing three activities you can choose from:
All it takes is 20 minutes, six to seven days a week. Twenty minutes won't carve a big chunk out of your day, but it will significantly improve your ability to control stress.
In yoga or yoga like activities, your mind relaxes progressively as your body increases its amount of muscular work. Studies have shown that when large muscle groups repeatedly contract and relax, the brain receives a signal to release specific neurotransmitters, which in turn make you feel relaxed and more alert.
Play tennis, racquetball, volleyball or squash. These games require the kind of vigorous activity that rids your body of stress-causing adrenaline and other hormones.
Not just any exercise will do
Don't try exercising in your office. Outdoors or away from the office is the best place to find a stress-free environment. Even a corporate fitness center can trigger too many work-related thoughts for some people.
Stay away from overcrowded classes. If you work surrounded by people, a big exercise class may be counterproductive. Solo exercise may be more relaxing for you. If, however, you work alone, you may enjoy the social benefit of exercising in a group. A lot depends on your personality and what causes stress for you.
Don't skip a chance to exercise. Take a break every 90 minutes and you'll be doing yourself a favor. Ninety-minute intervals are a natural work-break period. And four 10-minute exercise breaks will burn about as many calories as a solid 40-minute session. Work-break exercises can be as simple as walking or climbing stairs, stretching or doing calisthenics.
Controlling stress comes down to making the time to exercise. You're worth it!