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Exercise to Manage Stress

Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. Even a small amount of exercise can go a long way towards helping you manage your stress levels.

· Physical activity may help bump up the production of your brain's feel-good

neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner's high, any aerobic activity, such as a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike, can contribute to this same feeling.

· Exercise can provide stress relief for your body while imitating effects of stress, such as the flight or fight response and helping your body and its systems practice working together through those effects. This can also lead to positive effects in your body — including your cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems — by helping protect your body from harmful effects of stress.

· After any type of exercise, you may often find that you've forgotten the day's irritations and concentrated only on your body's movements.

· Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, improve your mood, help you relax, and lower symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. Whatever you do, don't think of exercise as just one more thing on your to-do list. Find an activity you enjoy and make it part of your regular routine. Any form of physical activity can help you unwind and become an important part of your approach to easing stress.

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