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Stress Fitness: A Dose of Healthy Stress

Stress fitness is a method of exercising your body under brief bursts of stress. study It has been shown to improve the health and regenerative lifespan of cells, rather than slowly depleting them.

Compare drinking coffee all day to enjoying a cup of espresso. The former is not very good for you and may make you feel anxious and tense; the latter has mood-boosting and health-boosting benefits.

The same goes for stress. You don’t want to be under stress all day, but you do want to give it a short, intense “stimulus,” which kickstarts your body’s recovery process and trains it to be more resilient to future stress.

How to Practice Stress Fitness

I like to do stress fitness exercises in the morning a few times a week or at least once a week. Here are two options:

1. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

It takes about seven minutes to complete a round of high-intensity interval training. You can choose as many from the following list as you want, but keep things simple to start with:

  • push ups
  • plate
  • side panel
  • Jackpot
  • high knee
  • jump rope
  • hiker
  • jumping lunge
  • jump squat
  • burpees

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Do each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by a 10-second rest. Repeat until the seven minutes are up.

Quickly find the edge of strength where you feel discomfort or struggle. Welcome discomfort and difficulty as part of the experience—don’t fight them.

If you haven’t exercised in a while, start with an accessible exercise like slow or brisk walking.

2. Turn the dial to cold

A quick cold shower can help, study finds reduce inflammation, extend your life and improve metabolism.

After a hot shower, turn the knob to the cold setting. Can you stay under the stream for 15 to 30 seconds? One minute? Push yourself to the limit the same way you would exercise, then relax. This is the key.

To build resilience, match the onslaught of your stress response with a relaxed state of mind whenever possible.

Bonus exercise: heat up!

Under the right circumstances, cold exposure can generate positive stress, as can heat exposure.

Although more research is needed, some studies have found that sauna use and Reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems and inflammation.

Your heart rate increases while using the sauna, just as if you were exercising moderately. If you have access to a sauna at home or at the gym, try sitting in it for 30 minutes.

But if you have a serious medical condition, be sure to consult your doctor first.

Alisa Epel, Ph.D., health psychologist, longevity researcher.she is a professor University of California, San Francisco and director of UCSF Aging, Metabolism and Mood Center. In her latest book, “Stress Prescription”, She distills decades of research into science-based techniques that can help you turn stress into strength.Follow her on Twitter @Dr_Epel.

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