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5 Easy Exercises for Stress Relief

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Updated December 01, 2011

Stress relief need not be complicated. Sometimes, all you need is a few stress reduction techniques you can use anytime you need to take a break and regroup. Here are 5 easy stress-reducing exercises almost anyone can do. Try one or all depending on what appeals to you, and how much time and space you have. They also make very good beginning or ending exercises for workouts.

1. Put Your Feet Up

feet up exercise
(c)2010, Marguerite Ogle
Actually, we usually call this exercise legs up the wall, but it amounts to the same thing as putting your feet up, only much better than the way people usually do it. The idea is to relax, breathe deep, and let some of the pressure that's built up in the legs and feet drain away, along with tension.

2. Do Constructive Rest

courtesy of Liz Koch
What if you could lie down just-so, and your body would synchronize with your mind and harmonize its parts -- releasing the tension that disorganizes the mind and movement and creating the opportunity for optimal function? It can happen. The constructive rest position is a powerful technique for relaxation and realignment.

3. Strike a Happy Baby Pose

(c)2011, Marguerite Ogle
For me, just thinking of a baby in this pose can relieve stress. Do this exercise yourself and you are well on your way to a smile, an easy hamstring stretch, and a relaxation exercise for your back.

Representing the other side of the wheel of life, corpse pose is the quintessential relaxation exercise from yoga.

4. Breathe Deeply

deep breathing exercise
Getty Images
Paying attention to and deepening your breath may be the most readily available and effective stress reducing exercise. Deep breathing has many benefits: It calms the nervous system and relaxes the body. It is also rejuvenating as it refreshes your blood with new oxygen and stimulates the internal organs.

5. Stretch Out

hip stretch
courtesy of Kolesar Studios
Sometimes it's too much to go from 100 mph to zero. If you want to do something a little bit active for stress relief, gentle stretching is a good solution. Stretching literally loosens you up. It settles the mind in the body and helps relieve tension in the muscles. Flexibility in the body can translate to flexibility in the mind -- yet another route to stress reduction.

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