According to Harvard Medical School, regular exercise will not only have positive effects on your health, but will also work wonders for your state of mind. Exercise reduces stress hormones while increasing endorphins, chemicals produced in your body to improve your mood and provide natural pain relief.
If the thought of having to add yet another task to your already busy schedule seems daunting, don’t stress! The Canadian Mental Health Association says that even moderate weekly exercise can help keep your anxieties at bay.
Here are 10 stress-relieving exercises you can try to help combat the negative effects of everyday stress.
1. Walking: Walking is a relaxing and pleasant exercise, especially if you grab a friend and enjoy a chat while you’re doing it. A minimum of 20 minutes a day is recommended and an hour is ideal. Walking is also a perfect way to take a break from work to clear your mind.
2. Zumba: If you love dancing, you’ll love Zumba, which combines the fun of dancing with the benefits of exercise. One class will have you hooked and the popularity of Zumba means finding a class will be easy. QiDance is another option combining ancient Chinese moving with global music.
Next: Tai Chi
3. Tai Chi: This is a low-impact ancient Asian exercise that helps improve balance and strength. Easy movements combat stress as well as improve muscle strength and definition while offering aerobic endurance and flexibility, agility and balance.
4. Yoga: The gentle movements of Yoga have the same mind calming and body strengthening benefits of Tai Chi, bringing you the meditative stress relief you need in hand with improved balance, muscle tone, flexibility and range of motion.
5. Tabata: Tabata may be a dream come true if a cause of your stress is a busy schedule. Designed by Japanese Scientist Izumi Tabata, this high intensity workout combines 20 second bursts of intense cardio with 10 second intervals of rest. The complete workout is usually based on 4 to 8 cycles, but studies have found that even 1 minute of intense cardio can make a huge impact on your general health and well-being.
6. Cycling: If you can cycle and the weather’s right, this is another pleasant way to work out the stress. A stationary bike at home or at the gym works just as well.
7. Dance: Turn up the tunes on your head phones or stereo and dance away the stress. As little as 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week will do the trick. Or, grab your favourite partner and take a ballroom dancing class to enjoy romance, exercise and stress relief all in one night!
8. Exergame: Incorporate your “me-time” with some WiiTM time! Regardless of what console you choose, you can burn up to 270 calories in 30 minutes. With a plethora of games to choose from you are bound to find one to keep you moving and entertained.
9. Boxercise: Not only a great workout, but a great way to vent your frustrations. Based on the training commonly used by boxers, you can punch, shadow box, dance and skip your way to inner calm!
Next: Aqua Fitness
10. Aqua Fitness: Keep your cool with this workout that lessens the stress not only in your joints, but in your life as well. Aerobics performed in chest high water makes for an excellent workout without the sweat, so dive in!
Next: Talk to your doctor
Discuss the intensity and impact of exercise best for you with your doctor. Not only will you be getting your mind in shape, you’ll be on the road to a healthier, happier you.