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Exercise - The Natural Stress Reducer

My favorite thing about exercising is that you can still engage your mind and use your exercise time as a productive business tool. You don't have to concentrate on anything during this time except your body and your mind.

© 1999, by Desiree Scales

I had quite a wake-up call this past month. My mother went in for emergency heart surgery. The doctors all agreed that two key elements had contributed to her clogged arteries -- lack of exercise and an overabundance of stress. I knew it was time to take a look at my own routine and evaluate how I could reduce the stress in my life by combining these two factors and making them work toward a healthier life. Let me share some of what I learned.

The key element to reducing physical stress is the release of endorphins into the bloodstream. Aerobic exercise is a powerful tool that releases endorphins naturally and works to strengthen the heart muscle. Endorphins make us all feel like we can take on the world. Getting a good workout three to four days a week is critical in keeping the endorphins flowing, heart pumping and stress-levels low.

It's really not as hard to start exercising as you may think. Think of an activity which takes about 45 minutes of your time but isn't productive such as watching television or surfing the 'net. Now, replace that activity with exercise be it walking, jogging, rollerblading, bicycling or any other favorite aerobic activity that gets your heart pumping at a reasonable pace (you should still be able to carry on a conversation while doing the activity). The long-term gains of switching off the computer or television are well worth it because you'll feel like a new person with more energy and less stress by trading an unproductive 45 minutes with a heart-building exercise you enjoy.

My favorite thing about exercising is that you can still engage your mind and use your exercise time as a productive business tool. You don't have to concentrate on anything during this time except your body and your mind. The best time for me to work through a problem with a client or think about a new business strategy is while I'm taking my walk through the neighborhood. Whenever I have a major problem and find myself getting agitated, I find my daughter's stroller and my walking shoes and go for a long walk.

Every single time I come back from my walk with either a solution or a better perspective on the problem than if I had sat and stewed over it. The reason for this is because I've had some time to think through the crisis clearly and really concentrate on a solution. I've also gained a valuable perspective, making me realize the problem wasn't as big as my inner voice had made it. I even sleep better because I'm truly physically tired from my workout and my problem isn't nagging at me all night.

I can't stress this enough. (Get it?) Exercise is one of the number one ways of reducing stress and staying healthy. It's inexpensive and as easy as putting on a pair of shoes. Taking the first steps can even be fun if shared with a friend, your spouse or your children. After all, investing 45 minutes three to four days a week can go a long way in a healthier routine that might even save your life.

Unfortunately, my mom had to learn this the hard way, but I've heard she's already walking a mile every day. I'll be walking right along with her.


Desiree Scales is the Owner of Bella Web Design at 3605 Sandy Plains Rd., Suite 240-121, Marietta, GA 30066, Email: , Phone: 770-509-8797, Fax: 770-509-9488 (if busy, call above number), Web site: www.bellawebdesign.com.

 
 
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