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Stress has a lot of adverse effects on the body. Mentally, high cortisol levels wear down the brain’s ability to function properly, causing you to experience irritability, insomnia, and memory problems that can disrupt your day-to-day life. Physically, stress can age the immune system. A study of US adults aged 50 and above revealed that those with higher levels of reported stress had older immune system profiles, as observed in the immune cell counts in their blood. As such, these adults are more prone to developing illnesses due to their weaker immunity and older age.
To prevent this, here are 4 ways you can alleviate mental and physical stress.
The amount of physical activity you do may decrease as you get older because of aches and pains. Still, exercising is essential because it promotes the flexibility you need to alleviate such pain. It also releases endorphins, reducing stress and creating a feeling of well-being.
If you’re not fond of high-impact exercises, especially if you have joint pain, try resistance band training. Resistance bands are big rubber bands that build strength by providing tension for your muscles to work against. The Healthy Seniors Chair Exercise Resistance Bands set is perfect for older adults. It contains low and medium bands that aren’t too hard to stretch, so you don’t strain yourself. The set also comes with an exercise guide that introduces you to the various exercises you can do with the bands.
Fortunately, you can prevent or alleviate these issues by investing in ergonomic equipment developed to improve comfort and productivity. Consider starting with ergonomic office chairs especially if you usually sit for long periods of time. These chairs are designed to decrease the strain on your hips, feet, and back, preventing injuries. They also encourage you to practice proper posture by supporting your back. In fact, models like the Steelcase Gesture Chair have a 3D Live Back support feature that adapts to your spine’s natural curve.
The hustle and bustle of everyday life can be stressful, even if you're just doing simple tasks like cleaning up around the house. If you're feeling overwhelmed, give some serious thought to taking some time away from your usual routine to calm down and relax.
Though this can simply involve a day alone at home, you can take a more extensive break by going on a well-being retreat. Here, you can listen to meditation music and stay in a quiet environment. The calming activities you’ll do—such as yoga or hiking—can improve your physical health by encouraging movement and providing relaxation. Since they're usually situated in calming environments, well-being retreats can benefit your mental health, too. You’ll immerse yourself in nature, releasing any negative thoughts. Ultimately, going on a retreat can give you a broader view of life, allowing you to shift to a more positive mindset. You can find and attend well-being retreats hosted by wellness centers or resorts in your area.
Healthy relationships give you a sense of belonging and connection. More importantly, they're a great source of social support. HelpGuide.org’s 2022 article “Social Support for Stress Relief” reveals that your happiness increases, your cognitive function improves, and you’re less lonely when you receive social support. That said, making efforts to maintain your current relationships and maintain new ones is vital to alleviating stress. Invite your family and friends over. Go on short trips. Share your favorite hobbies with them. If they’re far from you, keep in touch constantly via message or video call.
Stress is bad for your health—more so as you age. Follow our tips to improve your overall well-being and strive for a happier, healthier you.
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