When you've got too much on your to-do list, taking an hour or so to go to the gym may be the last thing you want to do. But research shows that exercising can be one of the most effective ways to combat long and short term stress. Here are some easy activities you can work into your day that don't require hours of prep time or tons of money for specialized equipment.
Walking is the most often recommended exercise for fitness and stress reduction by medical professionals everywhere. It can be started by just about anyone, it's easy on the joints, and you can do it anywhere, in most any weather. Many communities have walking programs. If you live somewhere where the weather is rotten, check out indoor walking clubs at local malls. Just 15 or 20 minutes a day can have a huge impact in reducing your stress levels.
Yoga practitioners have long sung the benefits of yoga for mind, body and spirit. While you may want to check out your gym, recreation department, or community education center for beginner's classes, you can also follow along to DVDs or online classes from the comfort of your own home. Usually all that's needed is a yoga mat or towel and comfortable, loose clothing.
As long as you're not immersed in freezing water and being chased by sharks, swimming can be a meditative, stress-relieving activity. The way the water supports your body, combined with the sensory deprivation, makes swimming a great way to de-stress. Not a Michael Phelps or Janet Evans? Use a kickboard, or try water aerobics for some of the same benefits.
Tai chi, a Chinese form of body movement, has been practiced for hundreds of years. Its slow, flowing movements are a lesson in mindfulness and detaching from the everyday - perfect for someone looking to disconnect from busy-ness and reconnect to spirit. It's gentle and calm, and perfect for any age. If you can't find a class in your area, there are beginner DVDs available.
Getting out of your car and onto two wheels can build your stamina, reduce stress [http://www.stress-relief-action-guide.com/managing_stress.html] from sitting in traffic, and burn off anxiety. As one of the world's oldest forms of man-made transportation, cycling is beloved for its ability to immerse you in the natural world at a slower pace. You don't need a fancy road or touring bike, just a basic coaster will do. Grab your helmet and your water bottle, and take off for a stress relieving and fat burning exercise.
One of the best stress-fighting facets of exercise is disconnecting from your "regular" life, and that includes technology. So whether you're walking or cycling, turn off your cell phone and use the time to get back in touch with your body and your spirit!
Stress, especially on a long term basis, can cause numerous emotional and physical issues. The first step in dealing with stress is to understand what it is and and what it does to you. Stress Relief Action Guide [http://www.stress-relief-action-guide.com] is a website you can visit that goes into extensive detail into the causes of stress and how you can manage or eliminate stress from your life.