The Athlete

Stress reduction: keys to your fitness

Stress is one of the major factors in a variety of diseases, including heart disease and some cancers. Researchers are unsure exactly how much of a toll stress takes on the lives of contemporary Americans, but many of them believe stress is responsible for many medical conditions. Reducing stress has numerous benefits. The people around a reduced-stress person are more likely to relax and have a good time. Someone who has rid her or his life of a lot of stress is in a better situation as well because less stress means more time to enjoy life. One’s home and work environments may seem less chaotic by learning to deal with stress. Finally, one’s fitness level increases with diminished stress levels.

Moderate exercise is one of the easiest ways to reduce stress. Some exercises, such as yoga, are known for their stress reduction properties, but other forms of exercise, including walking, swimming, and bicycling may help decrease a person’s reactions to stress. Exercises releases hormones that help people deal better with their emotions. Someone who has been on a walk has had to time to clear his or her mind of the thoughts cluttering it and will be better able to deal with problems as they arise.

Anyone who is facing too much stress should think about how much time he or she spends alone or for personal enjoyment. Take a day trip to a local interest spot. Go to the mall for some low-energy shopping. Get a manicure or pedicure. Have a cup of coffee. Stay in bed late. Play hide-and-seek with the children. Do something to sit back and have fun whether it means being with loved ones or being alone. A good de-stressing, even if it can only happen once a month, will help with overall fitness.

Finally, learn to delegate. People who are too stressed often have too much going on in their lives, or they are taking on the tasks of an entire family. Every person in a family – no matter how big or small – can contribute to making the home a less-stressed environment. Little children can learn to pick up after themselves even if parents have to remind them. Once children are five or six years old, they can help with other chores like taking out small garbage bags or helping set the table. Other adults should share in the household tasks so that everyone can improve his or her fitness level by living in a home with little stress.

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