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  • Alice Bull

2 things you can do today to reduce stress

The term 'stress' is now part of our everyday dialect, so it's hard to believe that before 1936 the biological concept of stress had not been created. Hans Selye, the so-called 'father of stress', was the first to relate stress to human health in his studies of the modern biological formulations of stress.

Nowadays, we are far more aware of the physiological and psychological effects that modern stresses put on our lives.

Ongoing, chronic stress can start to cause or exacerbate physical health conditions including respiratory disease, cardio vascular disease, heart attacks and strokes. The psychological effects of stress may manifest themselves in depression, anxiety or personality disorders.

Whilst is it impossible to avoid stress, there are two simple and accessible strategies, exercise and mind-based methods, which when used together have been shown in a recent ASICS Movement for Mind study to provide the synergistic benefits of reducing levels of anxiety, enhancing mood and improving performance at work.

Many businesses are looking to support their employee wellbeing and there is a long list of wellbeing techniques out there, but very few have been tested in independent scientific trials, until now.

ASICS enrolled a leading global authority on movement and mental health, Professor Brendon Stubbs, and worked with specialists in Sophrology, breathing techniques, mindful movement, meditation and music psychology to scientifically prove how combining movement and internationally recognised wellbeing methods can improve mental health.

The programme was run over an eight-week period with 189 volunteers, including a control group. Each person was asked to take part in two audio-led sessions of exercise per week and internationally recognised wellbeing measures were used to understand how movement and the body support mental wellbeing.

The results from the trial showed a genuine, provable, clinical difference to participants' overall wellbeing. Scientific measures showed that the Movement for Mind group saw improved mood and lower anxiety compared to the control group and became less sedentary, even when not listening to the audio exercises.

You don't have to be running long distances to see the benefits of exercise. You can enjoy a brisk walk or a slow jog and combine this with some simple breathing techniques or simple tension release exercises to feel the benefits of this two-pronged approach. Whilst we know the independent merits of exercise and mind techniques such as Sophrology for improving mental health, it would appear that combining the two strategies has real scientific value and benefits.

To try the ASICS Movement for Mind programme yourself, click here.

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