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Relieving Stress with Exercise... and Losing Body Fat in the Process!
By: Jamie Clark

Feeling stressed out lately? Don't worry, there is a simple and incredibly effective solution -- one that will help you lose weight in more ways than you might think!

Relieving Stress with Exercise

Research has proven that relieving stress with exercise is one of the best ways to improve your overall health. Regular exercise provides an amazing array of anti-stress benefits to the human body -- including reduced muscle tension, improved cardiovascular functioning, increased blood oxygen levels, and reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels, just to name a few.

Relieving stress with exercise also, of course, burns calories and helps to reduce body fat. Since most other anti-stress 'remedies' (especially pharmaceutical drugs, alcohol, and overeating) cause you to gain weight it's obvious that exercise is the best option.

Control Cortisol, Lose Weight

But, besides burning calories, there's another reason relieving stress with exercise helps you to reduce body fat. Exercise produces chemicals that help to lower cortisol production. Cortisol is a "stress hormone" that has gotten a lot of press lately because many new diet products claim to block it.

While the effectiveness of these products has yet to be proven, there is little doubt that controlling cortisol levels is a very important factor in weight loss and long-term weight control -- not to mention optimal health and fitness. Relieving stress with exercise is an absolutely fool-proof way to lower cortisol in the body.

Elevated cortisol levels are fully or partially responsible for everything from sugar and carb cravings to overeating to low energy levels... and more. Experts also believe that high cortisol production increases the amount of "toxic fat" stored on your body -- this is the abdominal fat that may trigger cardiovascular disease and inflammation-related health problems.

Summary

Relieving stress with exercise is, without a doubt, the best way to deal with your physical and mental tension. Not only will regular exercise reduce stress levels, it will also help you control how much cortisol your body produces. This, in turn, will help you to avoid food cravings, reduce dangerous abdominal fat, and basically feel much better. So, next time you feel stressed out, get up, get out, and start relieving stress with exercise!


About the Author

Jamie Clark is a fitness writer and editor of the popular 'Really Useful Fitness Blog' located at:

http://www.fitfaq.com/blog.html

Please feel free to use this article in your newsletter or on your web site. Just be sure to include this resource box as well as a live link to the fitFAQ.com Fitness Guide:

http://www.fitfaq.com


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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape

 

Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.


Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
shocks.

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
speaking.

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
time.

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:
http://tinyurl.com/6c6kq
 

Dave Snape

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