Stressed out? Start moving. Exercise is one of the best tricks to reduce stress, as it releases “feel-good” endorphins into your body, boosting mood and helping you to relax. However, not all exercise is stress relieving. Research has tied some forms of exercise, particularly endurance workouts, to increased stress hormones.
Carving out 20 to 30 minutes each day for exercise may help shift your focus from the anxieties of your day, allowing you to be more relaxed and in turn, more productive.
Though many exercises, such as running, swimming or even playing tennis will help boost endorphin levels, here are five exercises you may not have heard of that are a sure way to reduce stress:
Neuromuscular Integrative Action (NIA) is blends martial arts, dance and healing arts. A flow of movement combined with deep breathing exercises keep your heart rate elevated while relaxing your mind and body. Learn more here.
Tai Chi is an ancient form of martial arts originating in China. It is a flow of a series of movements connecting the mind and body. Tai Chi is designed to promote peace and serenity in your mind while giving your body a good workout.
Also originating in ancient China, Qi Gong is the repetition of one movement at a time. It engages your mind, body and spirit, promoting health and healing. Learn more here.
Unlike traditional yoga in which you move from pose to pose, in restorative yoga practice, you will hold restful positions for a longer period of time, allowing your body to relax. Learn more here.
A combination of concepts from Tai Chi, Shiatsu and Qi Gong, Ai Chi incorporates the use of water resistance and buoyancy into exercise. With deep breathing and long, deliberate movements you will improve range of motion while relaxing your body.
Most importantly, pick an exercise you enjoy; something you will make a habit of. Even the simple act of walking can be relaxing and reduce day-to-day stress.