As we currently face uncertainty during this health and economic crisis, Stress Awareness Month couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. Aside from mental discomfort, struggling with high-stress levels also comes with a plethora of potential health issues including:
- High blood pressure
- High cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, which can lead to weight gain, sugary food cravings, and water retention.
- Low energy and patience levels
- Difficulty sleeping
- Digestive issues
- Tight muscles which lead to aches and pains
- Frequent illness (colds, flus, infections)
- Jaw pain from clenched jaw and teeth grinding
- Poor judgment and forgetfulness
So how can you combat stress? It’s no new news that exercise helps relieve pent up anxiety and worry. However, did you know that one type of exercise may reduce stress levels in one person but not another? It all comes down to your exercise personality type.
For example, if you’re extroverted, participating in a group exercise class can alleviate stress. But if you’re an introvert or shy about exercising in front of others, the idea of working out in a group may actually bring about more worry.
We’ve identified six dominant exercise personality types and have recommendations for exercise habits to reduce stress for each.
Which Exercise Personality Type Are You?
#1 Sweat and #selfie
You get a thrill from checking for proper form and seeing your hard work pay off.
You love posting your latest workouts on social media to inspire your friends and show off that toned body. No workout is complete without a look in the mirror or snapping a quick selfie for Instagram. Getting outside your head and focusing on the artistry of your body has a calming effect.
Circuit training or bust a move
Put on your favorite workout outfit and pay extra attention to your form in a circuit class that keeps you moving to distract you from your thoughts like:
- 32-minute Belly & Booty Burnout with Katie Dunlop
You’ll burn calories while sculpting your booty, thighs, and core. Focus on your form in exercises like dynamic planks, toe taps, squats, and hip bridges.
- 38-minute Knockout Body with Breann Mitchell
This routine combines cardio and strength for a super effective workout that will give your muscles a pump and you that perfect post-workout glow.
Or, if you’re rhythmic and find clarity in picking up new choreography and trying it on your own body, get groovy with a dance workout class.
- 14-minute Cardio Dance Sweat Sesh with Aubre Winters
Perfect for all levels who want to feel sassy and work up a sweat!
#2 Namaste Calm
You need to slow down in order to level out.
Sweating through a high-intensity workout only makes you feel more out of sorts. Instead, you gravitate towards rejuvenating Yoga routines and guided meditations to help you calm your worrying mind.
Stick with what you know and love.
You most likely took up Yoga to tame your tension in the first place. You know it to be your magic potion to feeling more zen and slowing down the spiraling thoughts in your mind. Focus on the style of Yoga and/or meditation you know works for you:
- 21-Minute Level Up and Flow with Elise Joan
If you gravitate to faster-paced, more energizing Yoga when you need to clear your mind, this Vinyasa flow is perfect for creating the strong foundation you need to get to mental clarity.
- 6-Minute Letting Go Meditation with Elise Joan
This quick meditation focuses on letting go of negative thoughts and creating space for more positive reflections.
- 18-Minute Be Well Balanced with Elise Joan
Balancing poses are some of the best for calming your mind because they take complete focus. Bring your mind to the present with poses like Tree Pose, Chair Pose to Drinking Bird, and Warrior 3, which Elise gives modifications for beginners and progressions for advanced Yogis.
- 10-Minute Clarity Mediation with Vytas
The perfect meditation to clear your mind when you’re feeling overwhelmed and flustered and need to ground yourself for a busy day.
#3 Extroverted Butterfly
You feed off the energy of a group exercise class.
The highlight of your workout is making connections with other like-minded people who want to sweat out a day of worries. You get motivated by witnessing others’ working hard, heart-hitting playlists, and the instructor’s words of encouragement.
Get on the virtual class bandwagon.
Can’t make it to the gym? FitOn has a ton of classes you and your friends can do simultaneously to let off some steam. Set up a Zoom party with some of your besties and press play at once to any of these stress-relieving workouts:
- 19-minute HIIT & Shred with Danielle Pascente
This descending ladder style HIIT workout incorporates dumbbells to amp up the intensity and give you an all-over workout that will leave you sore in all the right places.
- 17-minute Upper Body Box and Burn with Caroline Pearce
Bring your favorite boxing class to your living room. Move from classic punching moves to strengthening exercises that turn up that calorie burn and sculpt your upper body. This one will unleash your inner beast.
#4 Fitness Freak
Your life (kinda) revolves around your fitness schedule.
You rarely skip out on a planned workout, you know your way around the weight room and love to turn up the intensity on your cardio days.
Challenge yourself with HIIT
It’s time to mix it up. Getting out of your routine will help you get out of your head. Pick a workout not in your normal schedule (trust us) like:
- 22-minute Krazy Kettlebells with Danielle Pascente
This full-body kettlebell AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) workout will leave you breathless and feeling sore in muscles you didn’t know you have. Don’t have a kettlebell at home? A dumbbell will work just as well.
- 13-Minute Tabata Toner with Breann Mitchell
Get your heart rate sky high with exercises like inchworm push-ups, broad jump shuffles, plank jacks to mountain climbers, and jump lunges to jump squats. Getting absolutely breathless is the perfect way to release extra mental tension.
#5 Energizer Bunny
Exercise is your outlet to release pent up energy.
You are the friend that everyone wonders, “how is she/he always so energized?” You have a natural energy that can leave you restless. Your workouts come naturally for you and, honestly, necessary to not go completely wild and jump out of your chair randomly.
Exercise in bursts.
When stress hits, it’s better to split up your workouts, so you have multiple moments to burn off some energy throughout the day. Try any of these quick hits to keep you moving:
- 11-minute Bodyweight Blast with Kenta Seki
Push, squat, and sweat your way through this no-equipment, total body workout you can do from everywhere.
- 10-minute Agility Blitz with Bree Koegel
This semi-advanced workout will leave you absolutely breathless with exercises like renegade rows, squat to biceps curl to triceps extension, single-leg deadlifts, and lateral three-step shuffles.
#6 Do I Have to?
You exercise because you know it’s good for you, not because you want to.
You are not naturally drawn to exercising, and that’s okay. You know it’s important, and your will power to push through your qualms while getting that sweat in shows how strong you are in both body and mind!
Take it easy, and just keep it moving.
Pushing your body during times of stress may do more harm than good if you’re dreading it the whole day. Instead, centering and low-impact Yoga or Pilates are perfect options for when your head just isn’t in the game.
- 24-Minute Total Body Yoga Flow with Vytas
This Yoga Flow keeps the energy moving with creative variations and fun flow progressions that will strengthen your muscles, release tension, and calm your mind.
- 24-minute Long & Lean Pilates with Cassey Ho
A dance-inspired workout that tones your entire body with graceful exercises like Dancer’s Sweep, Cross-Kick Crunches, and Flying Bird Dog.
Kick Stress With Sweat!
Understanding what exercises are most enjoyable for you is key to not only using them to destress, but it’s a super important factor when it comes to how likely you are to stick with a workout regimen. So don’t be shy, try a whole bunch of workouts and see which ones stick. The most effective exercise routine is the one you enjoy doing!