There’s no denying the link between exercise and mental health. Time magazine published an Australian study claiming just one hour of exercise a week may help prevent depression. Imagine what five hours a week could do? If you exercise every day, it will have a direct impact on your brain. Regular exercise increases the volume of certain regions, especially the hippocampus (responsible for emotional regulation).
With so many options out there these days, let’s discuss eight exercises that will help you relieve some of that everyday stress in your life.
8 Exercise to Combat Stress
Let’s start with something most of us can do: walk. The act of getting out and walking is a stress-free endeavor because it conforms to your schedule. Take a walk in the morning before work; walk on your lunch break; take a walk when you get home in the evening.
Better yet, invite a friend to walk with you or bring your headset and check in with a loved one. This allows you to fire up those endorphins without feeling like you’re working hard.
If you’re practicing the art of mindfulness, leave all the distractions behind and walk in the present moment. Notice the world around you. Listen to the sights and sounds of nature.
Walking can also be a meditative experience. Choose a mantra for the day and hone in on it as you walk and soak in the fresh air. Anytime your mind wants to wander, circle back to your mantra. By the time you return home, you’ll feel rejuvenated, with a healthy outlook on the day.
Swimming is another great stress-reliever. First, it’s easy on the joints. You’re not pounding the pavement as we might when we’re running. Second, it combines the soothing effects of water.
If you’ve ever enjoyed a spa day, you might’ve noticed the music incorporated elements of water. Everyone loves the sound of the ocean or the gurgling of a stream. This is why swimming is not only a heart-healthy exercise but also a stress-relieving exercise.
Let’s return to thoughts of a meditative state and consider yoga. Yoga incorporates a lot of meditation and mindfulness into its practice. That alone makes it a great stress-reliever.
But, while you’re perfecting the art, you’re stretching muscles, releasing endorphins, reducing aches and pains, and re-centering your mind. Yoga has been around for centuries because it’s one of the few practices in life that supports the mind, the body, and the spirit.
#4 Tai Chi
Tai chi is a friend to both yoga and the martial arts. You’ll practice flowing body movements and smooth breathing techniques. The movements are rooted in the martial arts, but the aim is to calm the mind and condition the body.
Like other forms of exercise, this will not only bring you mental clarity, but it will also produce several physical benefits, including a boosted immune system and lower blood pressure (when practiced regularly).
If you’re looking for something that packs a bigger punch, consider kickboxing. It incorporates controlled punching and kicking movements. The workouts tend to be quite rigorous, providing cardiovascular benefits along with stress-relieving benefits.
As a result, you’ll also achieve better balance, flexibility, and innate coordination. After a really stressful day, punching and kicking (in a controlled environment) often proves to be just the ticket.
Have you ever tried a spin class? Holy heart rate. These classes really get the whole body pumping.
Most people burn upwards of six and seven hundred calories. Fans of the class are known to need to towel their entire bodies off at the end of a session.
Given its intensity, the floodgates of endorphins are going to open. During the workout, you may wonder why in the world you thought this was a good idea. But, by the time you enter the cool down phase, you’ll be signing yourself up for the next class.
Pilates is the cousin to yoga. It, too, focuses on breathing and stretching. One of the major targets of pilates is your core. The movements require a lot of precision and control.
Given the nature of these moves, you’re going to come out with a more sculpted body. The creator of Pilates, Joseph Pilates, believed physical and mental health go hand in hand. As such, you’re going to leave the yoga mat after a Pilates session feeling rejuvenated and whole.
Barre is a wonderful, stress-relieving activity because it’s rooted in dance. It combines elements from ballet, yoga, and Pilates. The focus is on low-impact, high-intensity movements. Like Pilates, Barre classes will help you tone your body with regular practice.
Best of all, Barre classes are for everyone. You don’t need a background in dance. Also, it’s going to work nearly every muscle in your body.
This is a stress-reliever in the moment and a gratifier in the long run. When you look in the mirror and see your arms are totally cut, you’re going to feel tremendous pride.
Exercise Every day: Anywhere, Anytime
If you exercise every day, you’re going to experience a wonderful transformation. Something as simple as a 30-minute walk with your neighbor offers tremendous healing power.
When you’re ready to take things up a notch with regular yoga and barre classes, come on over and join the FitOn nation. You’ll join a community that enjoys personalized programs from celebrity trainers–anywhere, anytime.
Once you download the app, you’ll have access to premium video content, from yoga to Pilates, to Barre classes, and more.
There’s no denying it, exercise is essential for overall health and can help improve both mental and physical well-being. If you’re ready to get healthy, lean, toned and happy, then start by making that very important commitment to yourself. Don’t just lose weight. Gain control of your life: mind, body, and spirit. Get started by downloading the FitOn app today!