The joys of modern day life mean different things to different people. For some, it’s the countless conveniences we enjoy. For others, it’s endless choices of entertainment. And for even others, it’s digital technology and information at our fingertips 24/7.

While all of those are wonderfully contemporary, they – and millions of other influences – are causing a constant overload of activity and commotion that leads to stress. While stress in small amounts motivates us to excel, too much – on a continuous basis – can impact our health.

In fact, in a recent survey, 49% of the American public said they experienced a major stressful event last year, with 43% of those admitting that their stressful event was related to health, according to a new poll by NPR, Robert Wood Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. Further, 38% of those who reported they experienced a great deal of stress said it was due to their own health problems, while 37% said it was because of a family member’s health problems.

While there is a wide spectrum of treatments for those experiencing stress, there’s one simple place to start – engaging in physical activity. Whether it’s walking, swimming or taking a gym class, here are 5 recommendations from Mayo Clinic how exercise – besides the obvious physical benefits – can help alleviate stress:

  • Endorphins – just a short period of exercise can bump up the production of endorphins – often referred to as runner’s high.
  • Meditation – physical activity helps alleviate irritations and allows you to refocus on tasks, while remaining calm.
  • Mood – regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower mild anxiety symptoms.
  • Getting started – If you haven’t exercised in a while, consider checking with your health care provider before you begin – then gradually increase intensity.
  • Enjoy it – No matter which activity you choose – bicycling, gardening or tai chi – make sure it’s something you love to do and make it a priority by penciling it in as a standing appointment.

Discover the complete set of Mayo Clinic’s recommendations and tips then consider sharing it with someone who might benefit from learning how to exercise to reduce stress.


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