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Health and fitness: Exercise helps to manage stress

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By Kent Pegg

No matter who you are, you’ve no doubt experienced stress at some point during your life. The majority of Americans say they face at least a moderate level of stress most every week. And, nearly 9 out of 10 people report having experienced high levels of stress at some time.

The American Institute of Stress estimates that 90 percent of all doctor visits are for stress-related disorders. Additionally, 95 million people in this country take some form of medication for a stress-related problem each week.

People who suffer from stress have higher rates of heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, immune system deficiency and other physical problems. In fact, stress, because of its direct and indirect effects, is often considered the number one killer in America today.

So what can you do to help reduce the amount of stress in your life? Probably the most important thing you can do is to exercise. Numerous studies show that regular exercise significantly reduces stress in most individuals.

Exercise decreases stress hormones like cortisol and increases the brain’s production of neurotransmitters. The increased release of endorphins, or feel-good chemicals, gives your mood an all-natural boost.


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