Although most people feel they don’t have time to exercise, or don’t think they need to exercise, what they don’t realize is that exercise is an essential part of a healthy life style. Exercise is key to controlling weight management, protecting against various diseases and stress management. Exercise is a great stress reducer because the body releases endorphins, which are, feel good hormones. When released into the body endorphins increase energy, improve mood and make you feel better, all three of which help to eliminate stress. By choosing an exercise that you enjoy you can further reduce your stress. If you’re nervous, afraid or scared of looking stupid then you can actually worsen your stress rather than diminish it.
Mind body exercises are known as a great way to relieve stress. This type of alternative exercise focuses on breathing, mental concentration, and higher awareness of movement. This relaxes the mind and body by focusing on breathing, which reduces stress. Examples of mind body exercises include yoga, tai chi, and Pilates, all of which have increased in popularity over the last decade.
To consistently relieve stress with exercise it is recommended to exercise 20-30 minutes a day, 5-6 times a week. Choose the best time of day to fit your schedule to exercise. Remember that the more you enjoy the exercise you do the more motivated you will be to continue exercising. Try one of the following exercises to relieve your stress.
Yoga-Yoga originated in China thousands of years ago. It has been used as an alternative form of exercise for a long time but has recently become more popular in the recent years. Yoga has many different forms and intensity varies from beginner to advanced. Yoga concentrates on breathing while moving the body into various poses. Yoga classes have become more readily available at gyms, yoga studios and in alternative office settings.
Tai Chi- Tai chi focuses on relieving stress from both the mind and body. Tai chi is a combination of flowing movements and meditation. It requires concentration and relaxation, which reduces stress and calms the mind. Tai chi classes vary in intensity from beginner to advanced. Tai chi classes are offered at fitness centers and gyms depending upon the community.
Pilates-Pilates is based upon a series of movements that stretch and tone the muscles and improve flexibility and balance. Pilates movements stem from the care and move outward to the extremities. Pilates focuses on breathing and movement help to minimize stress and relax your mind.
Kickboxing- Kickboxing is a high energy, cardio workout. Unlike mind body exercises kickboxing allows you to release your frustration and stress. Additionally kickboxing teaches the proper way to breath. Proper breathing techniques reduce stress as well.
Walking/Running- Both walking and running are great forms of exercise with powerful stress relieving capabilities. Taking a walk or run can clear your head, eliminate stress and improve your mood. Fresh air, sunshine, and nature can uplift ones mood and boost ones energy.
Aerobics-Aerobic exercise increases the heart rate, respiration and blood circulation. As blood circulates endorphins flow through the body, which helps to reduce stress. Aerobics can be any exercise that increases the heart rate for an extended period of time. Any type of sports activity can be considered an aerobic exercise. Now aerobics classes are available at gyms and fitness centers.
Sarah Labdar, “Relieve Your Stress With Mind Body Exercises”, Everyday Health