Emotional stress is one of the most significant causes of all chronic health challenges. Because your body cannot defend itself against the damage that emotional stress quietly creates over time, your body pays a heavy physiological price for every moment that you feel anxious, tense, frustrated and angry. By-products in your system, such as cortisol, can be removed from your body through regular exercise. Clearly we cannot prevent every episode of anxiety, tension, frustration or anger, and we shouldn't expect to because all serve a purpose when they first arise. But stress takes a physical toll on us when these emotions arise on a chronic basis and are never managed.
OTHER HEALTHY HABITS FOR A HEALTHY HEART
Move your body every day and consume a healthy diet. Go for a walk, spend time in nature, read a good book, journal your thoughts, soak in a warm bath, play with a pet, work in the garden, spend time with people with positive attitudes, avoid people with negative attitudes, enlist friends or family members who are supportive in stressful situations, listen to music, watch a great movie, reduce sugar, alcohol and caffeine consumption, get eight hours of rest each night.
In addition to making you feel wonderful, stress-reduction exercise aids in relaxation, improves circulation, improves posture, lowers blood pressure, manages pain, relaxes muscles, improves flexibility and breathing, relieves tension headaches, decreases depression and strengthens your immune system.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified coordinator/instructor since 1989.
Send your questions about fitness, training or health to YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or e-mail cindys...@aol.com.
Look for Cindy's fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World" on her Web site www.cindysays.com or contact the YMCA at 340-3527.