Adult life comes with a lot of responsibilities and it can lead to a lot more stress. Are you feeling stressed out? If so, you’re not alone. According to the American Psychological Association, stress is one of the most common mental health concerns in the United States. Stress can lead to many health problems. While there are many ways to relieve stress, one of the best methods is to work out. Here are some ways exercises and activities can help relieve stress in your everyday life.
Exercises That Can Help Relieve Stress
Exercise has a lot of benefits for your physical and mental health. When you exercise, your body produces endorphins, which are stress-relieving substances that give us a feeling of overall wellbeing, which is important to good mental health. These activities can kick up endorphins for your body.
Increased heart rate is one of the advantages of aerobic activity, which includes dancing, Zumba, running, spinning, and in-line roller-skating. When your heart rate rises, your body produces endorphins, which are natural opiates that make you feel happy without having any negative side effects. High-intensity activities improve your physical and mental well-being. Always consult your doctor before beginning any high-intensity workouts.
Martial Arts & Kickboxing
Learning and practicing a martial art is another great technique to relieve energy, irritation, and anxiety. Martial arts have other advantages besides keeping you active; they teach you self-discipline and the self-defense techniques you learn can make you feel safer. Kickboxing is an effective stress reliever. It entails disciplined punching and kicking actions that are regulated.
Long-distance running, biking, cross-country skiing, and other outdoor activities provide a change of scenery as well as a breath of fresh air, which can help you relax. Beautiful scenery, particularly in the spring and fall, can improve your spirits and add variety to your training regimen.
Gather your friends and family and organize a game of football, basketball, soccer, or any other sport. Participating in team sports provides a double dose of stress relief; not only are you having fun with your loved ones, but you’re also working up a sweat and producing endorphins. Exercising with friends or coworkers can also help you stay competitive by motivating you to push yourself a little more.
Pilates is a set of regulated motions and mat exercises intended to increase your strength, flexibility, and endurance, all of which make Pilates, an anaerobic (rather than aerobic) workout, an excellent stress reliever. (Groth et al, 2022)
Benefits of Yoga and Tai Chi
Yoga is a stress-relieving practice that consists of a series of moving and stationary poses, or postures, as well as deep breathing. Yoga is a mind-body practice that can help you achieve a healthy balance by strengthening your body’s natural relaxation response.
All forms of exercise can improve your mood by reducing stress hormone levels, increasing the synthesis of feel-good chemicals called endorphins, and increasing the amount of oxygenated blood in your brain. Yoga, on the other hand, may provide extra advantages. It can improve mood by increasing levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical linked to a better mood and less anxiety.
Meditation also lowers activity in the limbic system, which is responsible for emotions. When presented with difficult conditions, you have a more tempered response as your emotional reactivity declines. (Harvard Health, 2021)
Tai chi is an elegant form of exercise that was originally intended for self-defense but is now used for stress reduction and a number of other health concerns. Tai chi, sometimes known as “moving meditation,” fosters serenity through soft, flowing movements. Some of the advantages of tai chi are reduced anxiety, stress, and depression; improved mood; increased energy and stamina; improved aerobic capacity; flexibility, balance, increased agility, and better muscle definition and strength. (Mayo Clinic, 2021)
While stress is a common problem, there are many ways to manage and relieve it. One of the best methods is through exercise and physical activity. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try one of the stress-relieving workouts above. You may be surprised at how much better you feel afterward.
Groth, Leah, et al. “8 Exercises That Relieve Stress – Women’s Guide to Stress Management – Everyday Health.” EverydayHealth.com, 24 May 2022, www.everydayhealth.com/exercise-photos/exercises-that-relieve-stress.aspx.
“Yoga for Better Mental Health.” Harvard Health, 12 June 2021, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/yoga-for-better-mental-health.
“Why Try Tai Chi?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 26 Feb. 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/tai-chi/art-20045184.