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November 23, 2017  |  Login
Exercise
By James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D.
 

Exercise is one of the simplest and most underrated ways to reduce the effects of stress on the body. Few people would argue that exercise calms the mind, improves energy, and makes one more resilient to stress. Exercise has been shown in numerous studies to be very effective in reducing anxiety and depression, two conditions that millions of Americans deal with. Exercise also offers an opportunity to enjoy more social contact, which is healthful for the mind and the spirit.

One key we have found to long-term exercise commitment is choosing exercise(s) that you truly enjoy. Too many people join a local gym or begin an exercise regimen with a friend, but it is short lived since they really don't enjoy it. Think of a type of exercise that makes you excited enough to get out and do it. It may be something as simple as walking or biking, or it may be more involved, such as joining a gym or a sports team.

Before you begin a new exercise, get evaluated by your doctor. With all forms of exercise, start with a warm-up period, in which you loosen up and perform mild stretches. Then, after the activity, spend even more time stretching and cooling down to prevent injury and soreness. You should try to exercise a minimum of three times a week for twenty minutes. If you have not been physically active for a while, start with a lesser amount of time and gradually increase it every week. As long as you can recover from your exercise and do not remain stiff and sore for more than a day or two, you are on the right track.

Optimally, it is most beneficial to choose exercises that target the cardiovascular system (such as walking, biking, jogging, swimming, hiking, dancing, etc.), along with those that build lean muscle and bone density (weightlifting).

 
 
 
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