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  • Sherri Nordyke

Exercises — like deep breathing and shoulder rolls — relieve stress


Stress can make your body feel bad. Over the long term, stress can cause real damage. Over the short term, you may feel headaches, tight muscles, backaches, or a stiff neck.

Sometimes stress makes us breathe poorly, and we don’t get enough oxygen. Deep breathing can make you feel better, and it can give you a “time-out” to help you handle whatever is causing the stress.

  • Close your eyes and sit up straight. Breathe in, slowly and deeply.

  • Count silently to two — hold the air in for another count — then let the air out slowly.

  • Repeat this slow, deep breathing for 5 to 10 minutes if you can. You will be more relaxed when you finish.

When your muscles are sore but you don’t have time to go swimming or walking, try these exercises wherever you are.

  •  Try to raise your shoulders up to your ears. Hold for a few seconds, and then drop your shoulders back down. Repeat a few times.

  • Try rotating your shoulders around, one at a time, then together.

  • With your shoulders relaxed, move your head slowly from side to side. Make sure to keep breathing deeply while you exercise.

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