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Beneficial Exercises for Stress Reduction

Person sitting on a coach with head in hand

Don’t let the tension from your life build up! Exercise is a fantastic way to reduce stress and improve self-confidence in handling the problems that come your way. Try out these exercises to improve your stress levels and get a smile back on your face.

Exercise is a tried and true way to reduce stress. It encourages deep breathing and promotes the “feel good” chemicals in the body like endorphins.

Shoulder Stretching

Your shoulders are a major part of your upper body, including the neck and upper back. They can carry a lot of stress which travels to other areas in the body, causing even more physical and mental weariness.

Chin Retractions

This looks an awful lot like a chicken dance, but it can help tremendously. The movement will be dramatized with the chin as it works your shoulders. While sitting with proper posture, move the chin forwards, then slowly move it back as you pull it towards your throat. Keep your head and chin parallel to the floor. You’ll feel your shoulders moving and stretching as you do this.

Shoulder Rolls

While standing or seated, roll your shoulder blades forward five times and backward five times. Repeat until you feel the tension dissipate and continue as needed.

Upper Back Relaxation

We often feel a lot of tension in our upper backs, especially if we have a job where we sit most of the day.

Rotation Stretch

While seated on the floor with one foot out in front of you and the other straight, turn your upper body in the same direction of the leg that is bent. You can use your leg for support as you twist and gently pull. Hold the position and switch sides.

Arm Exercise

This simple arm exercise will really work your upper back. Lay flat on the floor, with both arms straight in the air, parallel to the shoulders. Lift the arms up as if you were reaching for the sky and gently relax to the ground. Repeat as needed.

Chair Yoga

Chair yoga is perfect for anyone who wants to do yoga but is unable to stand on their legs for long periods of time. It can even be done from your desk at work!

Chair Twist

While sitting forward in your chair, turn towards the back of your chair, using your hands on the back of your chair for support. Twist and hold to one side, then switch to the other side. This will help to reduce the stress building up in your back. Be sure to take deep, slow breaths as you do this.

Cat Cow Stretch

This is a favorite of many Yogi’s. Inhale slowly as you look up to the ceiling. Then slowly exhale through your mouth as you pull in your abdominal muscles, rounding your back like a cat. Repeat five times or as needed.


As you can see, reducing stress is beneficial to your health in many different ways. We encourage you to contact us for help! In the state of Iowa, most insurance companies don’t require that you have a doctor’s note to see a physical therapist, so feel free to reach out to us today!

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