Walking & Other Exercises
Regular exercise is one of the best stress-reduction techniques available. It improves health, and reduces stress caused by lack of physical fitness. It also relaxes tense muscles and improves sleep. Other positive benefits of exercise include:
- Improving blood flow to the brain, which brings additional oxygen and other nutrients; and
- Causing the release of chemicals called endorphins into the blood stream. The endorphins give a feeling of happiness and have an overall positive sense of well-being.
There is also good evidence that physically fit people are more able to handle the long-term effects of stress, without developing ill health or burnout. Individuals who have not been physically active should talk with their doctor or another appropriate health professional before starting an exercise program. Health Power’s Fitness Tip Sheets and other items in its Food and Fitness Channel provides a wide variety of additional information on walking, exercise and fitness. See also Aerobic Exercise in our Glossary (on every page of the website). The Health Power Section on Overweight and Obesity also provides information on burning calories for weight control.
Having a healthy relationship with food is important to stress prevention and control. Spending a lot of time thinking about diets, weight and body image can be very stressful. This may contribute to the fact that overweight and obesity are more common in multicultural or minority populations. Furthermore, when we’re under stress, we are more likely to make poor food choices. Unfortunately, these food choices can create more stress in the long run, as well as other problems. Following are a few examples of poor eating choices:
- Eating Fast foods often
- Eating Foods high in fat, sugar and salt
- Snacking without thinking
- Skipping Meals
- Drinking Too Much Coffee
- Not drinking enough water
- Drinking too much alcohol