Exercise is a form of physical stress on our bodies, but can physical stress actually relieve mental stress?
‘Rest and relaxation’ is a common expression used by many, especially at the end of a busy working day. Although rest really can be relaxing, the phrase often leads people to overlook the fact that exercise can be just as therapeutic.
Everyone gets stressed out, it’s a normal part of life. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to live with it. There are many things you could do to help relieve stress, but exercise is said to be the most beneficial way. All forms of exercise, from yoga, to lifting heavy in the gym can relieve stress and make us feel better about ourselves. Even if you’re not a gold medallist, regular physical activity can do lots of positive things for you and your stress levels!
How?! Well, physical activity reduces cortisol levels, your body’s stress hormone. It also causes your body to produce endorphins, which help your body and mind relax. Getting active and breaking a sweat can also help you to sleep better, which is something else that may be adding to your stress levels.
Here are 4 stress-busting exercises, so next time you’re feeling a little stressed or on edge, give one of these a go!
Yoga is perfect for fantastic health, wellbeing and flexibility. It will also help you feel relaxed, whilst increasing physical strength and flexibility. According to Mayo Clinic, yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and help with the health of your heart. Anyone of any age or fitness level can get involved with yoga and according to Psychology Today, over 85% of people who partake in regular yoga classes reported that it helped them relieve stress.
Walking is something that most people can fit into their busy schedules, just by making a few changes to their everyday life. For example, you can get off the bus a stop early, go for a stroll during your lunch break at work, or even just take your children to the park for a couple of hours. Walking has many health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, reduced risk of diabetes, improved muscle and joint movement and stronger bones. Walking can also be a social activity and can be used as an excuse for a catch up with your friends!
Kickboxing burns a large number of calories and helps maintain a high metabolism. It is a mixture of martial arts and boxing and is beneficial for general fitness, as well as self-defence. Kickboxing teaches proper breathing techniques, builds confidence and gives you an instant energy boost, all of which can help reduce stress levels.
Dancing is as fun as it is stress-relieving! It allows for self-expression and creativity all the while helping to build confidence and a healthy mind. Not forgetting it also has amazing fitness benefits as getting groovy can help with weight loss, building muscle, improve heart health and strengthen bones. On top of all of these reasons, it is also a sociable form of exercise as many dance styles require a partner. From Zumba to ballroom dancing, all of them are great ways to dance your stress away!