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STRESS RELIEF: The Role of Exercise in Stress Management

Jackson, Erica M. Ph.D., FACSM

ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal: May/June 2013 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 - p 14–19
doi: 10.1249/FIT.0b013e31828cb1c9

LEARNING OBJECTIVE • Exercise can be an effective component of a stress management program, and all types of exercise can be beneficial for stress management. Exercise programs consistent with the current recommendations to improve health can be prescribed to manage stress. Fitness professionals should recognize that it might be necessary to refer a client to a psychologist or other health care provider to help develop strategies for managing stressors that produce chronic and acute episodic stress.

Everyone experiences stress, and not all stress is bad. However, individuals who experience acute episodic and chronic stress are at increased risk for developing stress-related health problems. This article outlines the relationship between stress and health and discusses the role of exercise in managing stress. Exercise recommendations and stress management tips are provided.

Erica M. Jackson, Ph.D., FACSM, is an associate professor of movement science at Delaware State University. Dr. Jackson conducts research on the roles of exercise and stress in the prevention of hypertension. Her research also focuses on increasing physical activity among women and minority populations to prevent chronic diseases.

Disclosure: The author declares no conflicts of interest and does not have any financial disclosures.

© 2013 American College of Sports Medicine