The economy may be shrinking gym-membership funds and growing the pressure to work longer hours. But increased stress is exactly why you should be working out. Physical activity stimulates blood flow and releases endorphins, which in turn elevate mood. Add some crucial breathing exercises before your workout, and you'll also release tension and clear your mind. Dr. Brian Ghessi, director of Alive, a spinal analysis and respiratory-integration healing center in California, recommends this series before your usual sweat session: Sit upright or lie faceup. Take a few slow, deep breaths, inhaling through your nose, exhaling through your mouth. Repeat with hands placed atop your chest, making sure your chest expands away from the spine as you inhale, toward it as you exhale. Now place hands on top of rib cage and repeat. Place hands on top of stomach and repeat. For tense areas, release your breath while saying "ahhh."

What Do You Think?