Stress has been linked to a slew of health problems, from dangerously high blood pressure to obesity and heart disease. It’s important to control your stress level as soon as you feel it starting to creep up. All exercise will help you focus, elevate your heart rate, and release endorphins that will make you feel better.
However, when you’ve had a trying day, what’s the best way to tackle your specific type of stress?
Which class should you sign up for tonight?
Where should you head after work?
What type of exercise is going to help you achieve the fastest sense of relief?
Depending on the type of stress you’re feeling, different types of exercise can help bring you back to center. One of the goals at our health retreats is to help you become more aware of the link between your mind and body. When you don’t feel good inside, your body suffers. Conversely, you can use your body to jumpstart your path to feeling better. Here are our favorite exercises to help you achieve stress release fast.
Exercises to vent your frustration
Whether you’re a little bit annoyed or super steamed, look for exercise that presents you with the opportunity to release your frustration in a safe and supportive environment. Aggression is a natural human emotion, and repressing it can compound your feeling of discomfort. Also, sometimes it just feels good to whack something hard. Release your rage in a situation where channeling that energy through your extremities is rewarded, like boxing, kickboxing, or weightlifting.
Check out the best workouts to improve your mood.
Exercises to sharpen your focus
If your attention is pulled in a million directions and you feel like you’re losing control, look for exercises that encourage you to slow down. Practices like yoga, tai chi, and Pilates require you to concentrate on your breath and pay close attention to your body posture and limb positioning. Not only do they promote flexibility in your body, they encourage you to look inward and quiet your thoughts. But make no mistake, these low-impact exercises can deliver a challenging workout. The quivering sensation you feel as you work little-used muscles is a testament to the fact that these seemingly tranquil exercises are definitely toning and tightening.
Exercises that help you let go
Grief due to loss, sadness over a breakup, or holding a grudge against a loved one can cause you to get stuck in the trench of compulsively playing the same mental script on repeat. In these instances, inject some fantasy and fun into your workout with exercises that create a lighthearted spin on your day. Dance, aerobics and trampoline work all have the ability to bring out your playful side, replacing stressful thoughts with much-needed joy. Plus, the group setting puts you in contact with other people, creating a fantastic opportunity to focus on someone else instead of what’s bothering you.
Exercises that provide a good distraction
Nothing helps beat a general sense of doom and gloom than getting outdoors. This is why our San Diego health retreats are set in such a stunning location. But achieving a sense of well-being doesn’t require you to be beachside. No matter where you live, no matter what time of year, nature is waiting for you nearby. Fresh air, sunlight and a change of scenery are enough to immediately stimulate your curiosity, edging out stressful thoughts to make room for positive feelings.
Water sports like surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and swimming blend physical movement with the calming effects of water. Hiking, speed walking, jogging or bicycling, whether on a trail or around the neighborhood, gets your heart rate up and opens you up to changing the scenery. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, these outdoor activities are full of new sights, sounds and smells that can help ease you out of your rut.
Read about 16 ways to fit outside of the gym.
Whatever your method of neutralizing stress, remember that all exercise should involve a warmup and cool down period. Drink plenty of water and don’t tax your body too hard. As you continue to manage all the hurdles that life throws in your way, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to keep coming back for more.