With summer in full swing and life pulling us in various directions, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with work and life commitments. Stress can leave you feeling depleted, anxious, and weighed down, which can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. Short-term stress can turn in to chronic stress if it’s not managed properly, and the toll that takes on your body could lead to depression, heart disease, and headaches to name a few.
Studies have shown that stress and anxiety can be managed with physical activity. That probably leaves you wondering what the best exercises are to lower stress levels, so we’ve put together a list of the top 5 fitness activities proven to reduce stress.
This probably comes as no surprise, but restorative yoga is a great way to relax when you have been burning the candle at both ends for too long. With strength building and meditation at its core, yoga is a phenomenal way to decompress at the end of a long day. Steer clear from power yoga if stress relief is your main goal, as these classes may be too intense.
Kickboxing is a fantastic way to blow off some steam at the end of an especially stressful day. What better way to release stress and tension than to learn how to target specific muscles and properly kick and punch for an hour? If high intensity, fast paced fitness activities are more your style, kickboxing is a great option for stress relief.
3. Tai Chi
Like yoga, Tai Chi focuses on controlled body movements and breathing but differentiates itself in its martial arts roots. Recents studies have shown that Tai Chi can help build bone density, lower blood pressure, and boost the immune system, making it the perfect choice for stress management.
4. Team Sports
Whether it’s your company’s softball team, or an elite soccer league, team sports are a great way to stay active and relieve stress. Not only will you be releasing the endorphins from the exercise itself, but you will be enjoying the time spent playing a team sport with friends, teammates, or colleagues.
No matter your skill level or style preference, dancing is an excellent way to burn the calories while burning away the stress. Learning a new type of dance is a great way to challenge yourself and incorporate exciting fitness activities in to your daily routine. Sign up for a class with a friend for moral support or motivation, and feel the stress melt away as you laugh and sweat with your new fitness buddy!
If you are feeling more overwhelmed than usual, remember that there are other resources out there to help you manage your stress:
- Try reaching out to someone you trust. Confide in a friend, relative, or mentor. Sometimes talking about the problems or struggles you’re facing out loud can make them feel a lot less intimidating.
- Come up with a schedule. If you’re feeling unorganized, scheduling a week out may help to put things in perspective and allow you to allocate time to get specific tasks done.
- Treat yourself. Take some time off to have a spa day, meet a friend for a nice lunch, or find some time to see that movie you’ve been meaning to watch. It’s important to make yourself a priority.
Summer is a fun and exciting time of year, but can quickly get overwhelming. If you’re looking to unwind, make some time in your schedule to try these exercise activities and techniques to lower your stress levels!