Regular exercise increases your overall health and sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step. But did you know it also has some direct stress-busting benefits?
- Physical activity pumps up your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, or endorphins.
- It’s meditation in motion, helping clear your mind as you practice “mindfulness,” focusing on the movements of your body or the music playing in your headphones instead of those nagging worries.
- It lessens the symptoms of mild depression and anxiety by stimulating production of your body’s own antidepressants: serotonin and dopamine.
- It helps you have a better night’s sleep, because after exertion, your whole body will be ready to relax.
Just be sure to set aside at about 20-25 minutes each day – or about 150 minutes each week – for whatever activity you enjoy.
Don’t overdo it!
How to stretchA safe stretch should be gentle and relaxing. Move slowly until you feel the muscle stretch just a bit. Hold the stretch steady and do not bounce. Relax and repeat each stretch three to five times while breathing slowly and naturally. Don’t push yourself.
Never stretch if you have pain before you begin. If stretching causes pain, STOP! Listen to your body.
If you get a muscle cramp during physical activity, stop and repeatedly stretch the affected muscle then massage it until the pain goes away. If the pain persists, apply ice for a few minutes, then repeat the stretching and massage.