Feeling stressed? Make these changes to help find relief!

Photo courtesy of Fredericksburg Fitness Studio

November 1st is National Stress Awareness Day, making it a great time to put this critical issue in the spotlight. According to the American Psychological Association, half of all adults polled say they have been impacted by stress in the last month. Moreover, around 37% of them report that when stressed, they can't bring themselves to do anything, leaving people feeling overwhelmed, burned out, and run down. Not only does the stress take a toll on the mind, but also on the body, making health conditions worse. The good news is that there are some diet and exercise choices we can make to help ease the stress.

"Short-term stress is fine and normal, but when you have a lot of stress in your life, it can do some damage," explains Jennifer Scherer, a registered dietitian nutritionist, medical exercise specialist, certified personal trainer, and owner of Fredericksburg Fitness Studio. “Chronic stress can lead to mental and physical health problems. It’s important to take even small steps toward helping to ease the stress.”

Many people are aware of doing things like meditation, journaling, or yoga to help ease stress, but they may need to learn the connection between what we eat and how stressed we feel. While making drastic changes or trying to change everything all at once may seem daunting, even making one or two lifestyle changes can significantly impact stress levels and, ultimately, health. 

Here are some ways that diet and exercise help to ease stress:

The Mayo Clinic reports that regular physical activity can lower blood pressure, which helps reduce the heart's stress. Aiming for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day is a good idea. Plus, exercising releases endorphins, which will help to ease stress and lead to a better state of mind.

Adding more fruits and vegetables to the diet can help reduce inflammation, which lowers disease risks and helps improve your gut microbiome. The October 2022 issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry reported on a study to see if dietary changes that impacted the microbiome would lead to a shift in stress scores. They found that nutritional approaches can reduce perceived stress.

Eating whole foods can help to improve mental clarity compared to processed and high-sugar foods. According to Harvard Medical School, the foods best for the brain include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. They recommend getting protein from plant sources and fish, drinking tea and coffee, and eating walnuts.

Drinking herbal teas and adding fresh herbs to your cooking can help to reduce stress. A study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine concluded that lavender herbal teas can help reduce depression and anxiety.

Skip the artificial sweeteners. A study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine reports that artificial sweeteners offer no nutritional value. Still, they increase the harmful gut bacteria, negatively impacting our mood and anxiety levels. The same study says that increasing the amount of fiber consumed can help reduce inflammation in the body and reduce depression, stress, and anxiety.

“We all want to feel better, but most of us don’t think about our diet as helping us to make it happen," Scherer added. "What we eat and our physical activity level play an important role in managing stress. We have helped many people to establish and stick to healthy eating and exercise routines, which helps to reduce stress levels."

As a registered dietitian, Scherer helps people improve their diet, plan for sustainable weight loss, and help people include healthier food choices. She and her team offer nutrition coaching services, wellness, personal training, in-home medical training, virtual personal training, and a Pilates reformer program, which features a versatile machine designed to provide resistance. It can be used when standing, sitting, or lying down. All workouts on it are custom-tailored for the individual to address their physical fitness concerns. 

Fredericksburg Fitness Studio doesn't offer memberships as other gyms do. They offer private customized fitness programs that are available by appointment. Many people who go to the studio are referrals from physical therapists and doctors. The wellness professionals at the studio communicate with the medical teams to keep them up to date on patient progress. To learn more about Fredericksburg Fitness Studio, visit the site:

Photo courtesy of Fredericksburg Fitness Studio

Cher Murphy

Cher Murphy, owner of Cher Murphy PR, brings with her a wealth of experience in covering a variety of interesting fields. As an expert in public relations, she works with clients in some of the most popular sectors, including health and wellness, education, restaurants, travel, and entertainment. With a nose for news and a gift of professional presentation, she is able to deliver high quality, ent...(Read More)

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