Best Exercises For Relieving Stress
Have you been especially tense or anxious lately? Did you know certain exercises can help relieve stress? We’ve put together a list of the best exercises to reduce stress to help you get through tough days.
How Does Exercise Relieve Stress?
Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress because it releases endorphins. These neurochemicals act as natural opiates to help increase feelings of well-being and happiness with zero side effects. Regular exercise means you can consistently release endorphins and increase your ability to manage stress healthily and improve your resiliency.
What Are the Best Exercises for Fighting Stress?
While any form of exercise can help fight off stress, aerobic exercise is especially effective due to its intensity and ability to raise the heart rate. As covered before, raising the heart rate releases endorphins to help boost mood and fight stress.
Some examples of the top exercises to fight stress include:
Swimming is a low-impact workout that targets the entire body. Along with being gentle yet effective on the muscles, being submerged in the water can be calming and soothing.
2. Brisk Walking
Looking for a simple exercise to reduce stress? Try taking a brisk walk. Even if it is only a 10-minute walk on your lunch break, walking can help promote feelings of calm and reduce stress.
Dancing to your favorite songs is a fun, high-energy, uplifting way to work out and ease stress. Better yet, find a group exercise class where you can surround yourself with friends and work out together.
4. HIIT Workouts
HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is one of the best ways to get your heart pumping and muscles working. Through a mix of strength, aerobic, and anaerobic exercises, high-intensity interval training is a fantastic way to build strength, increase endurance, build up muscles, and fight off stress.
Have you ever heard of a “runner’s high”? This phenomenon refers to the euphoric feelings runners experience after a great run. This feeling is thanks to the endorphins that get released.
To further enhance the stress-busting effects of running, skip the treadmill and run outside instead. Be sure to find a safe route and wear supportive, comfortable running shoes.
Cycling is an excellent, low-impact workout to get your heart rate up to enjoy the benefits of endorphins. Whether you ride inside on a stationary bike or head outside for your ride, cycling is an excellent way to calm the mind.
Do your stress levels make you feel like you need to get some tension out? Hitting a boxing bag or sparring with a partner can be an ideal way to burn off stress or other intense emotions in a safe way, all while enjoying the benefits of an aerobic workout.
Kickboxing, a sport involving controlled kicking and punching with a focus on discipline, is a great way to reduce stress levels. Along with being a rigorous workout, it can help improve your coordination, flexibility, and balance. It also makes a great outlet for releasing negative energy and stress.
Other Exercises To Decrease Stress
Other options for physical activity that can help ease stress include:
- Martial Arts – Martial arts such as karate, judo, Krav Maga, and tae kwon do place a heavy focus on self-discipline and mindfulness. These techniques can be ideal for promoting self-awareness, increasing your resiliency, and helping you learn how to better manage stress.
- Team Sports – Team sports combine the stress-reducing power of exercise with the benefits of socializing. Having fun with friends and enjoying a little friendly competition while working up a sweat is a great way to release endorphins and decrease stress levels. Whether you enjoy soccer, tennis, basketball, pickleball, or football, see if you can find friends to play with you regularly.
- Yoga – Yoga is well-known as a wonderful form of exercise for relieving stress. it involves flowing through a series of poses combined with deep breathing.
- Tai Chi – Tai chi focuses on flowing body movements and intentional breathing techniques. By promoting a mind-body connection and lowering blood pressure, tai chi is an excellent way to help boost overall health and your ability to manage stress. It is an ideal exercise for all ages and fitness levels and is easy to do anywhere.
- Pilates – Pilates helps improve endurance, flexibility, and strength, all while helping to make you feel calmer and better able to handle stress.
- Gardening – While it may surprise you to think of gardening as exercise, it can be a great way to get active. Gardening involves lifting, bending, carrying, stretching, digging, and can burn a surprising amount of calories. Bonus: Spending time in nature can help calm you even more.
To take the benefits of exercise even further, consider moving your practice outdoors. Spending time in nature and enjoying the scenery and fresh air can provide additional calming benefits, helping to boost your mood and clear your mind.
Examples of outdoor activities to help fight stress include:
- Cross-country skiing
- Rock climbing
- Mountain biking
- Downhill skiing
How Much Exercise Helps Relieve Stress?
Although there is no one-size-fits-all option for how much exercise it takes to reduce stress, aim to work out consistently.
No matter how busy you are, aim to start with 10 minutes a day. It may not sound like much, but even a few minutes of exercise can produce proven benefits, including stress relief.
As you get into a routine, try to slowly increase the frequency or amount of time you exercise.
Other Ways to Relieve Stress
Physical activity is one of the top ways to reduce stress, but here are some additional tips for lowering your stress levels:
- Work on improving your time management
- Practice meditation
- Work on increasing your mindfulness
- Focus on consuming a balanced diet that includes nutrient-dense foods and a variety of fruits, whole grains, fatty fish, and vegetables
- Aim to get enough sleep every night
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
What Are Your Favorite Workouts For Relieving Stress?
While aerobic exercise is particularly powerful at fighting stress, the most important exercise you can do to reduce stress is anything you enjoy. Looking forward to physical activity boosts motivation and increases your chances of sticking to a regular exercise routine.
Start slow and work your way up to practice some form of physical activity daily.
What are your favourite exercises for reducing stress? Do you notice a difference in your stress levels when you don’t exercise as often? Please let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.