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Coping with stress.

Berger conducted an analysis of previous research reports about the effectiveness of exercise on stress. She made the point that both negative (loss of a job, death in the family) and positive (marriage, job promotion) life events produce stress in one's life. This is especially true when those events occur very quickly over a short period of time.

Stress is important to overall health and a distinction was made between distress, which negatively impacts the quality of life, and eustress, which has a positive impact on the quality of one's life. It was found that physical activity both increases and decreases stress.

Previous research indicates that physical exercise has a positive impact on moods and helps participants cope more effectively with stress. Exercisers with stress consistently showed a short-term decrease in anxiety, tension, and depression.

To receive the physical and psychological benefits of exercise, it was found that the chosen activity must be enjoyable, aerobic, and free from competition with others. In addition, the activity should be of moderate intensity, last 20-30 minutes, occur on a regular basis, and allow one to focus on the activity without distractions.

Combining physical activity with other stress-reducing techniques (e.g., meditation, yoga, massage) was found to be highly effective in reducing stress and increasing self-esteem. It was reported that those who are fit have higher levels of self-esteem and self-concept.

Implications for camp: All camp staff get stressed at some point during the camp season. Many camps report a mid-season burnout period at which time many staff experience varying levels of stress. While stress related to camp jobs may seem to cluster at one particular time period, it may occur throughout the year for year-round staff.

For year-round and summer camp staff, a regular exercise program is important to help maintain fitness levels and control the negative impacts of stress. Stress-maintenance efforts go a long way in managing stress throughout camp.

Campers are not immune to stress and the above guidelines regarding type, duration, and frequency of activity should be implemented for them, as well.

Berger, B. (1994). Coping with stress: the effectiveness of exercise and other techniques, Quest (46) 1, 100-119.

Note: "Research Notes" was submitted as a full-length column. An editorial decision at presstime resulted in deleted material.

Deb Jordon, Re.D., is an associate professor of leisure services at the University of Northern Iowa. Send your letters and one-page summaries of research related to camp to: Research Notes, c/o Dr. Deb Jordan, Leisure Services Division, 203 East Gym, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls. IA 50614-0161. Note: Only research completed within the past two years will be considered for review.
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Title Annotation:effectiveness of exercise on stress
Author:Jordan, Debra J.
Publication:Camping Magazine
Date:Mar 1, 1995
Previous Article:Random ruminations.
Next Article:Camp & human behavior.

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