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4 Surprising Exercises for Stress Relief

When it comes to stress and frustration, sometimes it’s just good to let it out. We yell, run, punch – whatever it takes to blow off some steam. However, letting out aggression forcefully isn’t the best habit to fall into especially if you find yourself needing to do so often.

When I think of the best workouts for stress, my mind naturally goes to punching, kicking or tearing things in half. However, fitness expert and health coach Stephanie Mansour would suggest otherwise.

In college, Stephanie had a professor in an aggression and media class who told her the worst thing you can do when you’re upset is to start punching things. As a result, she’s concluded that when we’re angry or upset and need to take it out on something, we’re not teaching ourselves how to actually deal with our issues or become a mature, centered person.

As a fitness coach, Stephanie sees her fair share of clients who come to her for a stress-relieving workouts. But instead of letting them rip into a punching bag, she guides them toward these more relaxing exercise instead.

Breathing techniques - To practice intentional breathing, place your hands on your stomach and draw in air like you’re trying to inflate a balloon, and then slowly let your breath out through your nose like you’re deflating the balloon. In the process, feel your stomach getting bigger and smaller as you breathe, and think about breathing in perspective and breathing out stress.
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4 Reasons to Lose Weight

Whether you have just a few pounds to lose or you are fighting a the battle against obesity, we all know the basic reasons being a healthy weight. We’re not going to talk about how if you lose weight, you will be thin and probably live longer. Those are both great reasons, but let’s take a look at some of the lesser known benefits of losing weight.

1. A Better State of Mind

While improving your self-esteem is certainly an amazing aspect of losing weight, it goes beyond that. If you find yourself in a bit of a slump or may even depressed, you could go to your family doctor and they may prescribe you an antidepressant. Or, if you exercise on a regular basis, the endorphins released may just do the trick naturally. If you are feeling depressed, this is not an endorsement of avoiding your doctor, so always contact a health professional if you feel it’s serious enough… you just may find the solution without a prescription.
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Exercise to Boost Your Mental Health

A new study shows that those who do even a small amount of exercise have better mental health than those who do not.

An article in the New York Times examined a National Institute of Mental Health study that now gives better insight as to why physical activity leads to happier, less anxious people. Although it is commonly known that exercise releases mood-boosting endorphins, many do not know why it occurs or the physical processes of the brain during a workout.

Researchers at the NIMH experimented on both aggressive and even-tempered male mice to find the answers. The dominant male mice got their own private cages, and when they were integrated with the others, they used several intimidation techniques against the defenseless mice. After two weeks of living with their aggressive neighbors, the skittish mice were severely nervous and stressed.

But another group of even-tempered mice were not as intimidated by the aggressive mice. This experimental group had been given an exercise wheel and an exploratory tube in their cage. Although the mice were submissive toward the more aggressive male rodents, they did not appear to be nervous.


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The Benefits of Chocolate for the Body, Mind and Soul

As we head towards the holidays (or as I like to call it, sweets season) there is temptation everywhere for overindulgence. Before you dive headfirst into the Skittles and Twizzlers, consider chocolate as an occasional treat. Ghirardelli has traced chocolate back more than 4,000 years to the culture of the Mayas in Central and South America.

It was introduced to Europe in the 1500s but reinvented by European chocolatiers as a sweet confection. In the 1800s, it was re-introduced to Americans and remains a favorite snack and dessert. Though chocolate is usually high in fat and calories it does have some healthful benefits for your mind, body and as some might contend, your soul.
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Use Fitness to Fight the Blues

Maruchy Lachance is president of Running Ninja!, a lifestyle brand for runners by runners. Running Ninja! offers a wide variety of apparel and gifts for runners to keep you happy and inspired while you’re on the run.

We are living during some difficult times. Our nation is in financial flux. Unemployment and foreclosures are affecting us directly or someone we know. It’s during these times that we are prone to using comfort food and isolation to cope, but now is the time to realize that we must be fit to fight!

The reality is that life is in a constant state of change and evolution and it’s for this very reason that we should not allow good or bad times dictate our commitment to the one constant in our life that we should protect: our health and fitness.

One of the reasons we are terribly stressed during these uncertain times is that we feel as if we have no control over what is happening. Exercise will release endorphins in our bodies that help improve our outlook while also giving us a sense of control and purpose as we take responsibility for our health and fitness.
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