Exercises 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 

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.  
Try some of these activities:
- swimming  
- walking  
- jogging  
- yoga  
- mediation
If you feel you need help, seek professional advice.  

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

The State University of New Jersey

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