six exercises to reduce stress

Adopted from Fitness for Life by Charles Corbin & Ruth Lindsey. Prepared by F. Labenski, Rutgers-Newark Physical Educational Department.  

Here are some common exercises that help to reduce stress:

Stress is a normal part of living but accumulated tensions and  unusually stressful situations can cause distress. Any activity that either allows your muscles to relax or that expends large amounts of physical energy will make you feel less stressed. Here are some relaxation techniques to help you relieve stress.

Activity such as yoga helps reduce stress, and has additional health benefits. 

1. Take Ten Deep Breaths

Fill every corner of your lungs, hold, then slowly exhale until you've squeezed it all out. Repeat. All
that oxygen will charge you with energy.

2. Roll Your Neck

To get rid of tension in the neck, let your chin drop forward. Now, keeping shoulders level, slowly roll your head in a full circle to right shoulder, back, left shoulder and front. Repeat nine times, alternating directions.

3. Loosen Up Your Body

Sit upright in a chair. Lift your arms over your head and swing them back, down and forward in a circle, like a swimmer's backstroke, until they are once again over your head. Repeat nine times.

4. Stand and Stretch

Stand up and stretch your hands high over your head; then with knees bent to prevent strain, touch your toes. Repeat nine times. Stand with your hands on hips, legs apart. Bend toward at the waist until your upper torso is parallel with the floor.  Still bending at the waist, rotate your upper body and head first to the right, then to the left and then to the front. Repeat nine times, alternating directions.

5. Unknot Your Back

Sit on the edge of your chair, feet flat, and lean forward, chest on knees, hands and head hanging loosely down. Breathe deeply. Slowly unroll your back, vertebra by vertebra, until you are sitting upright.  Repeat until all the kinks are out.

6. Relax Completely

Lie on the floor, or sit in a comfortable chair. Keep your hands at your side or on the arms of the chair. Beginning with your toes and going all the way up to your scalp, visualize each part of your body and tell it to relax. Take your time. Go back over any area that becomes tense again until
finally your whole body is relaxed.

There are other ways in which you can reduce stress. Activities such as swimming, walking, jogging, yoga and meditation are excellent mood boosters with huge benefits. Yet, if you feel you need help, seek professional advice.
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Probably published in the beginning by The State University of New Jersey, RUTGERS.

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