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Stress Free and Strong!

Oct 2, 2013

Does work or life at home leave you feeling stressed? Recent research published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise; found that people who have chronic stress may take longer to recover from their workouts. Practicing mindfulness based stress reduction after a strength training session can help to improve recovery. By focusing on the present this helps your body to relax and recover. Practicing mindfulness is a great tool to use not just after a workout, but also outside the gym, anytime you start to feel yourself getting anxious or stressed.

Here are a few tips on how to be more mindful so that your body can relax:

1. Do you constantly worry about the future? Are you thinking of a meeting at work tomorrow or picking up the kid’s from school before heading home? If so, then you might be a chronic worrier. Focus on the task at hand, the here and now. Make a mental note of how often your mind wanders into the future and quickly pull yourself back to the present.

2. Create a cue that will help remind you to bring yourself back into the present. The cue could be anything such as a color, a piece of jewelry you wear, or an inspirational word. Whenever you hear or see the cue this should help you to refocus on the task at hand and become more aware of the present.

3. Another way to relax the mind and body is by focusing on your breathing. Try the 4-7-8 method the next time you are in the waiting room for a doctor’s appointment or sitting in traffic.

* Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

* Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.

* Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.

* Hold your breath for a count of seven.

* Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

“Mindfulness is a skill that you can develop, and as you do, you will start to notice and appreciate small joys in your day that had previously gone unnoticed.” - Elana Miller, MD

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