Exercise Reduces Stress 

woman exercising with free-weights

Research indicates that exercise reduces stress and that physical exercise is extremely important in order for women to maintain a healthy body.  Regular physical exercise is helpful in maintaining or losing weight.  Women need to be especially careful of carrying excess stomach fat.  This "apple shape" increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.  Women with waist measurements exceeding 35 inches should make efforts to slim the middle portion of their bodies.  

There is strong evidence that regular exercise improves cardio, respiratory, and muscular fitness and increases bone density. Also, regular exercise has been linked to reduction in depression and improved sleep quality. 

Examples of Daily Exercise Activities

If you are unused to physical activity, start gradually.  You may need to start with 5 minutes of exercise for  a time for the first week and gradually add more minutes each additional week.  Aerobic activity gets your heart beating faster and increases how hard you are breathing.  You need to be working hard enough in your exercise to raise your heart rate and break a sweat.  Examples of moderate intensity aerobic activity are:

  • Walking briskly
  • Water aerobics
  • Riding a bicycle on level ground
  • Playing doubles tennis
  • Pushing a lawn mower
  • Canoeing
  • Gardening—raking, trimming shrubs

Vigorous intensity aerobic activity means that you are breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up significantly, such as:

  • Aerobic dance
  • Bicycling faster than 10 miles per hour
  • Jogging or running
  • Jumping rope
  • Race walking
  • Swimming fast or swimming laps
  • Playing singles tennis
  • Playing basketball

Include muscle strengthening exercises at least 2 days per week.  You can engage in these muscle strengthening activities on the same or different days that you are also doing aerobic exercises.  There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles.  Examples are listed below:

  • Lifting weights
  • Working with resistance bands
  • Performing resistance exercises—push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups
  • Yoga
  • Heavy gardening that includes digging and shoveling
women bicyclist

Why Exercise Reduces Stress

Physical exercise reduces stress because these physical activities  provide an effective release of pent-up negative emotions.  Physical exercise helps your body remain in better working condition—all the joints and muscles and organs will thank you.  You will also find that as your exercise reduces stress, you will have a brighter outlook on the world around you. 

If you find it difficult to keeping a regular exercise routine, start by adding more movement throughout your daily lifestyle.  The goal is to incorporate more exercise into your daily activities.  Choose to take the stairs rather than the elevator.  Park further from the mall entrance so that you can include more walking as you complete your errands.  You will be surprised how much exercise you can add to your week, just by making some of these choices.

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