Battle stress with a good workout

By Dr. Ira Shapiro
Director, Plaza Chiropractic Center
Old Bridge


Do you ever feel like nothing’s easy and there’s never enough time to enjoy the activities that make life worth living?


Join the club. According to a recent poll released by Gallup News, “About eight in 10 Americans say they frequently (44%) or sometimes (35%) encounter stress in their daily lives. Just 17% say they rarely feel stressed.”


Congratulations to those who rarely feel overwhelmed. For all the rest of us, stress may not be the only problem. Anxiety, depression, migraines, sleep deprivation, high blood pressure, ulcers and heart disease are just a few of the consequences of everything from personal and health issues to financial and work problems.


In fact, a study issued by Northwestern Mutual found that 44% of all Americans were stressed by monetary challenges, while 25% said personal relationships and 18% claimed work were at the heart of their distress. “Time magazine even recently published an article stating that “more than half of Americans say the news causes them stress, and many report feeling anxiety, fatigue or sleep loss as a result. Yet one in 10 adults checks the news every hour …”


So, here’s the dilemma. How do you find the time to relax and simply enjoy life with so much going on?


First, just walk away. Whether you’re battling a complex assignment at work or building a swing set in the backyard, it’s time to take a break and a few deep breaths when it all becomes too much to handle. Taking a brief walk while inhaling deeply and exhaling fully will not only help release the tension, but also provide the clear head and fresh look needed to overcome most everyday problems.


Next, turn off the phone, TV and computer and do something you enjoy. As children, play came naturally. Somewhere along the way we lost the simple joy of doing what we like at a pace that fits our lifestyles. Consequently, we’ve become a single-minded society that bores easily or burns out trying to meet self-imposed benchmarks that are unreasonable and doomed before they ever begin.

Unfortunately, not many of us are destined to compete on the international, national or even state level. So, why not perform the physical activities we enjoy most with the goal of working toward the best realistic outcome? There’s also no shame in tiring of one form of exercise only to replace it with another. Sample the options and check the class schedule at your local gym. Most cable channels even offer an entire free category dedicated to fitness. Yoga, cardio kickboxing, step aerobics and core training are all there to try and experience.

The key to a sustainable wellness program that also helps to deter stress is finding what you like and performing the activities safely and regularly. Experimentation should be part of your regimen. Once you get in the groove it then won’t be long before you start experiencing both the mental and physical benefits. In addition to shedding the pounds and increasing strength and endurance, a regular exercise program can increase the level of the body’s built-in anti-anxiety hormones to elevate mood, decrease anxiety and create an enduring sense of general calm.

For more information on creating better, fitter and healthier lives for the entire family, call the Plaza Chiropractic Center at 732-723-0023 or visit Our trained staff will be happy to work with you, no matter your age or condition, to develop a safe and effective wellness program that complements your life style and offers long-lasting fitness rewards.



Dr. Ira A. Shapiro is the director of the Plaza Chiropractic Center, which he founded in Old Bridge in 1984. Recently selected to the American Chiropractic Association Sports Council Hall of Fame and a two-time member of the U.S. Olympic team medical staff, Dr. Shapiro has spent the past 35 years providing safe, gentle and effective chiropractic care to tens of thousands of patients ranging from community members to professional athletes competing at the world’s highest levels.