Fitness Tips: April 2, 2014

Exercise can be therapeutic.

Healthy Lifestyle Tip: Easy Ways to Stress Less
Stress is bad for your overall well-being, including your cholesterol, but small changes to your everyday routine can help reduce stress.

Sip a Cup of Tea
Black tea is rich in stress-busting antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavonoids, and amino acids.

Try a Little Aromatherapy
It's time to stop and smell the roses especially since they contain linalool, a chemical that helps reduce stress. So do herbs, such as lavender and basil, and fruit, such as oranges, grapes, and mangoes.

Laugh Away Stress
When it comes to stress, laughter really is good medicine. A good belly laugh triggers the production of endorphins, the brain's feel-good neurotransmitters. It also relaxes your blood vessels and increases blood flow – the ideal antidote to tension.

Take a Walk
If stress is a constant companion, add a 20- to 30-minute walk to your daily routine. Walking and other forms of exercise help reduce anxiety.

Find a Room with a View
Next time you're overwhelmed, turn off the computer screen and look out the window instead. The more time people spend gazing at the view, the faster their heart rates drop back to normal.

Listen to Relaxing Music
Listening to mellow tunes with a slow, steady rhythm helps slow down your breathing and heart rate so you feel calmer.

Eat Happy Meals
A smart diet is as important for managing stress as it is to keeping cholesterol in check. Be sure to include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help boost your mood (along with "good" HDL cholesterol), and magnesium, a mineral that may help soothe an overactive stress-response system.