Okay, we’re feeling it.  Holiday STRESS.  The Charleston and Mount Pleasant area is buzzing with activity.  Too many presents, too many parties, too much food…this is literally the time of year when excess is the norm and it can take a toll on your overall health—and get this—on your fitness.  Shape Magazine puts it this way, “Yale University researchers looked at all the studies they could find on stress and exercise habits, and three-fourths showed that people under pressure tend to slack off on physical activity and spend more time sedentary.”  We all know that exercise is great for blasting stress, yet instead of working out our anxieties in the gym, we tend to hunker down and let our stress fester.

So how do we navigate these overwhelming holiday waters, where working out is essential but we just don’t have the time or energy to do so?  Our favorite experts weigh in with our top 5 stress blasting tips for the season.

Health Magazine suggests keeping up with your regular routine.

“Prioritize your workouts, book club, etc., and don’t try to squeeze in more holiday than you can handle, says Katherine Muller, PsyD, an assistant professor of psychology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.”

2. American Heart Association recommends finding some time to let go and BREATHE.

“Relaxation is more than sitting in your favorite chair watching TV. To relieve stress, relaxation should calm the tension in your mind and body. Some good forms of relaxation are yoga, tai chi (a series of slow, graceful movements) and meditation.”

3. Everyday Health reminds us to get your heart pumping.

“The benefits of aerobic exercise — like running, dancing, spinning, and in-line roller-skating — include an increased heart rate. When your heart rate is accelerated, your body releases endorphins, natural opiates that make you feel good with no side effects. High-energy activities help you feel better physically and mentally.”

4. Men’s Health suggests working out for YOU.

“Here’s the thing: You can reduce stress even more—and make that reduction last longer—if you tailor your workout specifically to your personality type. ‘The psychological boost of adhering to a program that you enjoy doing is much greater than the reward you get from any single session,’ says Steve Edwards, Ph.D., a professor of sports psychology at Oklahoma State University.”

5. The folks at active.com remind you to find a rhythm.

“Some exercises, like running, cycling or lifting let you get into a rhythm.  That rhythmic flow of a repeating action relaxes your mind.  Ever hear a runner say they’re heading out for a quick jog to clear their head?  That’s what they mean.  This type of zoning out helps you relax and find your equilibrium again after a stressful day.”