Relieve Stress Now With These 3 Simple Exercises

Feeling your body gearing up for a rush of cortisol? Stop stress before it starts with this five minute sequence.

April 16, 2018 | by

Stress is unavoidable in the modern world—traffic jams and angry bosses, family dramas and financial concerns. Your day is moving along fine when suddenly an altercation at work floods your body with cortisol, constricts your breathing and jacks up your heart rate. This ‘fight or flight’ response was quite useful back when humans had to run from hungry predators—survival was at stake. But now, stress is just taking a slow and steady toll on our health and happiness. Stress can contribute to insomnia, hypertension, and depression, to name a few. Even worse, stress can be habitual—a neutral stimulus can recall an associated memory that previously caused stress and trigger a habitual stress response. The anecdote? Interrupt the stress response. Stand up, walk around the block, breathe deeply. Even better: try these three simple exercises to open the diaphragm and get the heart pumping. As you move through the first two exercises, focus on slowing your breathing and softening the muscles in your shoulders and face.

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Da Vincis | 10 x

  1. 1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your feet pointed straight ahead, your arms straight to the side, your hands palms-forward with the fingers spread wide.
  2. 2. Keeping your hips and head stable, bend to one side using just the spine and bend back to the other side, repeating this motion for the allotted amount of time.
  3. 3. Once you’ve finished a set with your feet hip-width, spread your legs wider so that your feet are a couple of feet apart and repeat the motion.

Calves and Calf Nots | 10 in Each Position

  1. 1. Stand with feet pointed straight, fist width apart.
  2. 2. Raise and lower heels ten times.
  3. 3. Point feet out and raise and lower heels ten times.
  4. 4. Point feet in so that toes are touching and raise and lower heels ten times.

Jumping Jacks | 15 x

  1. 1. In a standing position, jump and simultaneously spread your legs while you bring your hands together above your head.
  2. 2. Make sure your hands clap as this ensures a full range of motion.
  3. 3. Repeat for the allotted amount of time.

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