Exercise Helps with StressIt seems that stress is becoming a bigger part of everyone’s lives lately. Whether it be driving the kids, cleaning the house, working harder, or sleeping less, is it any wonder that we all feel as if we are aging faster than ever.

There are many strategies for coping and alleviating stress. Here are a few that are in no particular order are: medication, meditation, counseling, overeating, denial, caffeine and sugar. Each provides various levels of stress relief. But the most effective, safest, and possibly easiest method is EXERCISE! Now, there are many ways to use exercise as a stress reliever. I will assume that do not always have access to fancy equipment, so I will give you some common situations in which you can incorporate a little exercise that will make you feel better!

Situation #1: ‘Are you kidding? I am driving kids all day!’

Solution: Ok, this is easy. First of all, angle your rear view mirror up by about ½ inch. This will make you sit taller, and with better posture. You are already breathing better. Now, squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold it there for a period of time. (Perhaps it is the distance between 2 telephone poles, or the time that your kids are talking out loud). Now, only when you are fully stopped, turn your head to the left and right as far as possible. Then bring your right ear to your right shoulder, followed by you bringing your left ear to your left shoulder. Now shrug your shoulder up fully and slowly, and down fully and slowly. (You get additional stress relief knowing that you are embarrassing your kids.)

Situation #2: ‘Hey, if I have any time, I am going to clean the house, not exercise’

Solution: Another easy one. No one said that you need to do all your exercises at one time to get stress relief. Do 1 set of exercise before, during, or at the completion of a cleaning task. For example, dust the living room, then do some sit ups. Load the dishwasher, do some push ups. Put the broom across your shoulders and side bend to each side to stretch out your torso. Finished cleaning the bathroom? Stand with your back against the wall, slide down halfway by bending your knees, and hold it for 10 seconds. Feeling really stressed? Hold it for 30 seconds!

Situation #3: ‘Hey, I work at a desk in front of a computer all day’

Solution: Set a timer to go off every 30 minutes. When it goes off, you get up. No exceptions, unless you are on the phone with your boss, although you should already be standing in this situation. Now, walk over to the doorway, put each arm along the frame, and slowly stretch your chest and shoulders as you lean through the thresh hold. Hold for 10 seconds. Next, go put your back against the wall, raise both arms up over your head, trying to reach the wall with your arms. Push your hands overhead into the wall and engage those muscles between the shoulder blades that have been under tension while on the computer.
So, as you can see, even sneaking in a little bit of exercise into your hectic, fast-paced life is doable for almost everyone, and can go a long way to make you feel better and look better!

We hope you found this information useful!

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