It is a well-known fact that each and every one of us can be stressed. The stress levels are different depending on the day and obligations we need to fulfil, but it’s there nonetheless. However, higher stress levels can significantly harm our mental health as well as our physical one and we all have to find ways to relieve that stress in order to preserve our well-being. Luckily, exercising can help with that, you just need to find what works best for you.
How exercising actually makes us feel better?
Exercising is a great tool to get control over your stress levels. When we are working out, our brains start to pump up our endorphins and this is when the so-called ‘runner’s high’ shows up.
Those endorphins are also called ‘feel-good neurotransmitters’ and they make us feel amazing when sweating out the stress. Also, the runner’s high doesn’t mean only runners get this benefit since this applies to any form of physical activity.
Your fitness routine can easily be your outlet and it can bring your stress levels to a minimum. Also, this allows you to choose from any kind of physical activity. If you’re more stressed and would like to punch the anger out you can sign up for kickboxing classes.
However, if that’s not exactly your cup of tea, you can set up a home gym and equip it with the equipment you like and need (click here for some ideas). So, in order to light those ‘feel-good neurotransmitters’, make sure to incorporate at least half an hour exercise routine into your day.
It can clear your mind
If you are not a fan of meditation, but would really love to clear your mind every day, you’re in luck! Physical activity can help you forget about what’s stressing you out because it can act as a moving version of meditation. More precisely, when you are counting your reps and focusing on performing the exercises the right way, your focus is shifted from anything else to the very workout.
This way, your mind isn’t racing and thinking about what you have to do tomorrow at work or what you need to buy for your home. Rather, you are focused on your body and how it’s moving. This is especially true if you’re doing some high-intensity training and the only focus becomes staying alive.
What exercises are the best?
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to workout routines, but there are some that can significantly reduce your stress. However, the common component here is getting your heart to beat faster so your mind is occupied and the body is sweating out the stress.
As already mentioned, kickboxing or any type of martial arts can help you with taking out your stress. Punching a heavy bag or having a light sparing with your ‘opponent’ can bring that satisfying tactile and auditory stimulation that will help you release negativity with each punch and kick.
We all love slamming and smashing stuff when we are frustrated, but instead of letting it all out on your doors or dishes, you might wanna try slamming a medicine ball. Plus, you will get that sweet core-focused total-body exercise while managing your stress. Slams are done from a standing position mostly, but you can provide more intensity to the exercise if you kneel down.
Kettlebell swings are combining two great things that can reduce your stress levels. This exercise is an explosive one and it will require you to focus and give your best to swing the weights and the flowing rhythmic nature of the exercise will surely feel like a meditation in motion. Yes, it will take you some time to perfect your swing form but it will keep you occupied.
It may seem easy to swing something, but don’t be fooled, you will need a great amount of concentration and explosiveness to perform it. And once you’ve perfected it, it will become your favourite exercise for sweating out all the daily stresses.
As you can see, physical activity is beneficial on so many levels. It will not only shape your body and help you lose weight and have a nice figure, but the intensity and punching out your negativity will help you calm down and forget about anything that stresses you out.
Helen Bradfield did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.
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