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Chapter 9. Exercise > Chapter Summary

Chapter Summary

One of the most effective ways you can master your stress is to engage in regular exercise. Physical activity releases muscle tension, and exercise provides a dress rehearsal for dealing with stress. You will notice varied benefits from exercise, including improved physical and emotional health and stress resistance. Any physical activity can help you to reduce stress. The types of exercise most closely linked with stress reduction include aerobics, resistance training such as weight lifting, and stretching. Buy any physical activity that is fun, provides a distraction from worries, and offers opportunities for social support is potentially stress-reducing for you. It is recommended that you exercise for thirty minutes daily to maintain fitness and maximize stress resistance.

Just as you need physical activity to remain healthy, you also need to sleep. Your body's natural healing mechanisms are activated when you sleep, but a similar thing happens when you relax deeply. An hour of deep muscular relaxation is almost as rejuvenating as an hour of sleep. Sleep is a process of letting go. You cannot will yourself to fall asleep. Focus not on falling asleep but on relaxation and breathing. Your body will allow you to fall asleep if you make relaxation your goal. Use stimulus-control methods to facilitate sleep. Above all, don't panic if you miss a night of sleep; catastrophizing creates far more stress than losing a few hours of slumber.


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