YOUR LIFE YOUR HEALTH

Get moving: How to manage stress with exercise 

Apr 11, 2024, 6:20 PM

PARK CITY – We’re all stressed and it can be triggered by our work or home environment.

If not managed well, stress can cause serious health problems. So, how can you exercise to manage stress?

Exercise – love it or hate it – has long been proven to reduce stress.

“I 100% believe that exercise is medicine,” said Dr. Carrie Jaworski, a sports medicine physician for Intermountain Health in Park City.

Jaworski said movement – in all its forms – actually conditions our bodies to respond to stress.

“Our body learns to adapt to it and actually gets better,” she said.

When it comes to exercise to manage stress, Jaworski suggested finding something that you enjoy doing.

“Do what you like; do what feels comfortable to you,” she said. “If you absolutely hate running, you shouldn’t pick running as your stress management or it will cause stress.”

You don’t have to spend hours doing intense cardio workouts – Jaworski said. It’s okay to start small.

“Any movement is better than no movement,” she said.

Jaworski suggested finding ways to weave exercise into your day will help manage stress. That could mean chair yoga, stretching, squats, or jumping jacks.

“The more you can be active, the better,” she said.

If you’re at home, there are plenty of household items you can use.

“Whether it’s a water bottle or a gallon of milk or your vacuum, there are things that are various weights that you can use to lift and do both arm and leg exercises,” she said. “It doesn’t require any extra expense.”

When it comes to nutrition, Jaworski said although it’s all right to leave some room for enjoyment, what you put into your body does have an effect on your stress levels.

“The processed foods and the fatty foods, they do make us feel worse, and when we feel worse, we get more stress,” she said.

And finally, take a timeout. And take a breath.

“There’s a great benefit to mindfulness,” Jaworski said. “If you feel yourself getting stressed, no matter what the cause, taking a moment, take a breath. Step away from the situation, get some fresh air, take a walk around the block. Give yourself some grace and reset. I think that really goes a long way.”

Looking for some easy, at-home exercises to de-stress? Here are some tips from an Intermountain Health athletic trainer.

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Get moving: How to manage stress with exercise