When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, these are hormones that fight stress. Heavy amounts of stress can cause headaches, insomnia, rapid breathing, a weakened immune system, a stomach ache, and if it gets too serious, a heart attack.
These effects can be fought with a nice stress relief workout. Here are 7 workouts that will put the restless mind at ease.
Yoga involves moving and stationary poses along with deep breathing. Doing Yoga can strengthen the body’s natural relaxation response and bring a comfortable balance.
If the goal is to ease stress power yoga is probably a bad idea. Go with gentle yoga exercises like yoga for beginners. There are classes available for every age group, at any fitness level.
The poses take considerable concentration to keep up. While the mind is concentrating on the poses, it’s not worrying about daily stressors.
Another exercise that focuses on movement with breathing is the Chinese art of Tai Chi.
2. Tai Chi
Tai Chi, like yoga, is all about movement and breathing techniques. It promotes a focus on the present. This idea causes everyday worries to fall on the back burner.
Even though these techniques are rooted in martial arts, they are meant to calm the mind and condition the body. There are many health benefits revolving around Tai Chi other than stress relief such as building bone density.
Tai Chi boosts energy and leaves the individual with a heightened sense of self. Qigong is a lot like Tai Chi in this regard, but they do have their differences.
Quigong is essential to Chinese Medicine. It’s right up there with acupuncture and herbs.
Practicing Qigong can promote feelings of serenity, improve digestion and sleep, and increase energy. It focuses on breaths that work in harmony with slow, gentle movements that are good for the nervous system.
Like Tai Chi, it promotes the idea of the present mind and body. Qigong is available at several senior centers, community centers, and YMCA.
If one can’t afford Tai Chi or Qigong classes walking is a great anti-stress activity that’s free.
Walking is something that involves no classes or expensive equipment to do. Walking can decrease the possibility of stress-related diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
It reduces stress with an added bonus of self-confidence that comes from taking a healthy step in one’s lifestyle. It releases muscle tension and quiets the nervous system.
There is also the added bonus of getting out in nature. Being one with nature, getting fresh air can do wonders for clearing the mind, and giving you time to sort out problems in a calm manner.
Start out with 2 ten minute walks a day, and go from there as needed, or as comfort levels rise.
If someone needs a less intensive workout then gardening is a good option that connects the mind with nature.
It’s possible to lose more weight gardening than one might think. Just weeding can burn off 200 calories, and more strenuous things like hauling around big bags of dirt can help shed up to 600.
Gardening is another exercise that puts those who practice it one with nature and as stated above, being one with nature refreshes one’s spirit and calms the mind.
Even having a couple of plants sitting in the window sill will help in regards to a connection with nature. It also gives the added bonus of having something to care for.
Having something to care for keeps the mind busy, and also gives a heightened sense of self. One might feel great about themselves when the first plant starts to bloom. It’s like taking care of a child in a sense.
Going back to intensive workouts, dancing is a great way to keep the mind busy, while also having a great time.
Dancing is a great work out that increases agility, grace, and increases one’s heart rate. It is said that dancing even can reduce the possibility of dementia. This is probably due to the fact that it’s a mental exercise. One has to remember all the steps.
Dancing in a class with other people brings a sense of community and connection. This can actually lower stress levels and increase happiness.
There are many dance and music clubs that offer free lessons before evening events get started. All one has to have is a pair of comfy shoes and enjoy having fun.
Pilates is an exercise that’s a lot like Yoga with more movement. It involves breathing while focusing on body awareness and core strength.
Pilates focuses on body awareness, core strength, and proper alignment. Like yoga, pilates keeps the mind so busy that there is no room for stress or worrying about life.
Pilates is also known for getting rid of common pains that come from too much stress. This involves back and neck pain mostly.
To start pilates one needs a machine called “The Reformer” which is only available in Pilates studios. One could also use a mat on the floor if they have to do it from home.
One’s first time doing a workout can leave their muscles sore and tense. Follow these aftercare tips to bring relief.
Great Stress Relief Workout Options
These are all great stress relief workout options that focus on not only keeping the body healthy but he mind as well. They combat many of the health problems that come with high stress and are really fun to do.
For ways to lose weight while losing stress, read more on our blog.