Staying fit is about more than just your body. It goes way beyond those moments when you are trying to fit into your clothes from college. Fitness is about your mind and spirit too. It’s one of the best and natural ways to reduce stress. When you are feeling stressed, crashing on your sofa in front of the TV isn’t the answer to your problems. You should sweat it out instead. Especially since many of us sit in the office all day, this is more the reason to go and work out. Our bodies weren’t designed to sit all day. Exercise helps you keep your mind off of daily conflicts or life problems and will help you clear your head. Here are some exercises that can help you relieve stress.
Cardio can be a major influence in reducing stress levels. This does not mean, get on the tread mill while watching TV. Try running in a park or in the woods instead of in the gym. Join a dancing or zumba class. These high energy activities will accelerate your heart rate which causes your body to release endorphins. Endorphins are natural opiates that will make you feel good without having any other side effects.
Sometimes, cardio isn’t what you need. In that case yoga is probably one of the best forms of stress relievers. Yoga combines specific form and posturing which help you with strength training, thus making you more resilient and flexible as it helps you relieve any physical tension. Yoga poses are not easy and require concentration which will help keep your mind focused on posturing instead of worrying. Yoga also involves regulated deep breathing which will help your body relax and become more balanced.
Similar to yoga, Tai Chi combines paced, flowing body movements and breathing techniques. The difference is that Tai Chi is comprised of fluid movements without any pauses between poses. Although Tai Chi is based off of martial arts, it is meant to calm the mind as well as strengthen your body.
For a less intensity workout, you can also commit to regular walks. Walking is very easy to do and requires no fancy equipment. Walking regularly can lengthen your life span by reducing the chances of heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Walking, especially amongst grass and trees can be very relaxing and releases tension within your muscles.
If you’re not much for sweating, swimming in your pool regularly can also help your tension. Whether its water aerobics or swimming laps, this is a workout that isn’t harsh on your joints and is actually a form of physical therapy just as much as mental therapy.
For those of you that don’t take much pleasure in “regimented” workouts, there are daily activities that can be relaxing… such as gardening. Gardening is definitely a low impact workout but pulling weeds for 30 minutes can help you burn 100 calories. Raking leaves and carrying bags of mulch or dirt can help you shed 500 calories within an hour! This is a “workout” that puts you in contact with earth’s natural elements and soothes your spirit.