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Get Moving to Manage Stress

By Lori Youden 

Exercise is a valuable component of any stress management plan. Almost any form of exercise can help to relieve stress by improving your sense of well-being and overall health.

Exercise can improve your sleep, which is often a problem for individuals dealing with stress and anxiety. 

Regular exercise can also benefit your mood through relaxation, improved self-confidence and self-esteem. Concentrating on your movements during exercise can help reduce your daily tension and stress level. 

Physical activity helps to increase the brain’s production of neurotransmitters that are linked to the post-exercise feeling of euphoria. This may enhance your ability to respond to stress and reduce anxiety. 

When starting a new exercise program, build up gradually with incremental increases in activity. This will help to reduce your risk of injury and post-exercise soreness. If you have trouble with a 20-minute brisk walk, try two 10-minute walks throughout the day and build up from there. 

Doing something you enjoy for exercise will help you sustain your program and make it more fun and relaxing. Finding a friend to join you in your activity will help you to commit to your exercise program. Whether it's a bike ride in the park or a local walking club, doing it with friends will improve your motivation and fun. 

Along with reducing stress, exercise helps strengthen your heart and bones, improve muscle tone, reduces body fat and blood pressure, and increases your energy level. 

For those who have health problems and haven't exercised in a while, it is a good idea to consult your physician before beginning a new exercise regime. 

Start your exercise program now and feel yourself unwind! 

Note: Lori Youden PT is a Physiotherapist at PhysioLink Porters Lake and sponsors the Pavement Pounders, a free walking program that runs from May-Oct. 

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