Use yoga as a stress reliever
For sure, 2009 was a stressful year for many, as the economy worsened and jobs were lost. And stress can have a negative effect on the body, leading to headaches, back pain, chest pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, decreased immunity, and sleep problems. So as 2010 begins, it's a good time to incorporate stress relievers into your life. One choice can build strength and flexibility, too: yoga. The discipline, which involves controlled breathing and assuming a series of postures, can help you relax, research suggests. A study published in October found that a 16-week yoga program was effective in decreasing stress and improving well-being in medical students. A study published in May found that pregnant women who took part in a seven-week yoga program saw reduced stress levels, anxiety, and pain. You don't have to attempt every pose your instructor suggests, according to advice from the Mayo Clinic, and should stop if a position is too uncomfortable.