July 29, 2019

4 ways to use exercise for stress relief


Life can be stressful, but exercise and stress relief go hand-in-hand. Use exercise to fight stress and the health problems that come with it.

It’s increasingly clear that stress is bad for our health. It contributes to many problems, from poor sleep to increased risk of heart disease.

Rather than trying the impossible task of getting rid of all sources of stress from our lives, try using exercise for stress relief.

You don’t even need a long, intense workout to reap some de-stressing benefits. Sneaking in even a little bit of activity on a busy day can make you feel better.

4 tips for using exercise to reduce stress

  1. You don’t have to exercise alone. Go for a walk with a family member, friend or co-worker. It’s a great way to connect with the people in your life while exercising at the same time.
  2. When you travel, which can disrupt exercise routines, pack your running/walking shoes and a resistance band. This is portable, lightweight gear that will allow you a wide range of exercise even in unfamiliar environments, indoors or outside.
  3. Have some quick workouts handy. Try the deck of cards workout: Each suit represents an exercise and each face value represents the number of repetitions. (Face cards are 10 reps, aces are 11 reps.) How long will it take you to finish the deck?
  4. Try yoga. If you’re not ready for membership at a yoga studio, you can do yoga at home, with DVDs (sample some from the public library) or streaming online yoga routines on your computer or tablet. The internet is full of yoga sites and videos! Yoga increases the body’s flexibility (stretching out all those tense muscles) and the breathing it emphasizes calms your heart and mind.

Google and YouTube are great sources of ideas for yoga, exercises using a resistance band, or, for the deck of cards workout, without any equipment at all. For ideas on short, effective workouts, search these sites for the amount of time you have — “20-minute workout,” “10-minute workout” — and you’ll find many suggestions.