Engaging in moderate intensity exercise for 30 minutes, three times per week has been associated with the largest reductions in perceived stress (Duckworth et al. 2013). Exercise can serve as a distraction from stress, can increase feelings of control and confidence, and act as a buffer against future stressful events.
Choose an activity that you enjoy. Some great activities include: walking, running, dancing, swimming, cycling, or anything that involves movement at a moderate intensity. Lastly, invite a friend to join you; research shows that commitment levels towards physical activity are significantly higher when participants exercise in pairs or groups (Burke, 2008).
More information on stress:
In a recent study, 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year (American Psychological Association, 2013).
Research conducted by the American Institute of Stress (2012) found that 80% of workers feel stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress. 42% say their co-workers need such help.
As we can see from the statistics above, stress is prevalent in US society. Research has shown that stress can contribute to cardiovascular disease, cancers, high blood pressure and psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse (Critelli & Ee, 1996). Recent research also reveals that continued exposure to stress may have a lasting effect on human fat distribution (Schmidt, et al. 2009). Therefore, stress may also play a major role in obesity. Lastly, high levels of stress can also negatively impact your overall quality of life (Lox, et al. 2010).