Exercise helps reduce economic stress

Published 8:57 pm Saturday, September 19, 2009

As the economic recession celebrates its first birthday with only minimal signs of slowing down, many people are feeling the tension brought on by months of stressing over their job prospects, bank accounts and expenses.

The uncertain economy has put pressure on everyone, and many Americans face unwelcome choices as they balance conflicting financial and personal demands. Now, more than ever, it is important to focus on staying healthy.

The YMCA encourages everyone to make physical activity a priority, especially during tough times. Physical exercise, even at moderate levels, can reduce the physical and emotional symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. Over the long term, regular exercise can ward off the physical and financial toll of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Experts agree that investing in health and well-being always offers a positive return. Here, from the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, are a few simple tips to get started:


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4Make an “exercise transition” between work and family time. Take a short walk after work to clear away the stress of the day and get a positive boost before interacting with family members. A little “me time” can have a positive influence on “us time.”

4Find an enjoyable physical activity that requires some mental focus to steer the mind away from worries — a pick-up game of basketball, a tennis match or even jumping rope.

Instead of going online to repeatedly check the balance of your 401K, check out training plans for a 5K run or walk and get family and friends engaged to reach a healthy and achievable goal.

Exercising together is a great way to have family time without spending money. Take a walk through the neighborhood, play catch in the yard or visit the park.

Visit your local YMCA and find affordable family activities such as family swim nights, Parents’ Night Out, video-game fitness, gentle aerobics and strength training classes.

Take the family to any YMCA of South Hampton Roads location on Sept. 26 between 10 a.m. and noon to participate in America On The Move Day. This event, including a family walk, is free and open to the public.