Exercises and Stretches to Reduce Stress
People have a lot going on in their lives – and stress is practically unavoidable as a result. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), 7 out of 10 U.S. adults experience daily stress or anxiety. If not properly managed, this stress can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health.
Having a go-to stress relief workout is a proven way to help your body and mind. The PowerBlock team has several tips and suggestions for using exercise and stretching as part of a stress management plan.
How Does Exercise Reduce Stress and Improve Mental Health?
Being active is about more than just getting physically fit. As the Mayo Clinic notes, exercise can increase production of endorphins – neurotransmitters that send good feelings to your brain. The ADAA adds that exercise can reduce fatigue and improve overall cognitive function, thus countering the effect of stress. For some, the rhythmic repetitive motions of exercise help clear the mind. Harvard Health Publishing refers to this as “muscular meditation”.
However you slice it, the scientific benefits of exercise for reducing stress are well-known. Let’s look at some of our favorite physical activities to reduce stress relief.
Stress Relief Exercises
- Walking and Running – These simple activities can ease tension and the risk of stress-related health issues. Those who go walking or running regularly report lower stress and higher self-confidence. You also don’t need any special training.
- Circuit Training – A high-intensity regimen mixing weight training and cardio gives you the physical and mental benefits of a stress-lowering workout in 30 minutes. By training at home with PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells and exercise equipment, you’ll save even more time, letting you fit exercise into your tough schedule.
- Pilates – This combination of strength and flexibility work promotes physical harmony and mental focus. You’ll be so engaged in the moment that stress simply won’t have room to take hold.
- Team Sports – Exercise should be fun, and for many, that means a game of soccer, basketball, Ultimate Frisbee or another sport of choice. Not only are you getting physical exercise, but you’re also having fun with family and friends, which lowers stress even more.
Stress Relief Stretches
- Child’s Pose – Kneel on the floor or a mat with your feet together and your knees hip-width apart in a V-shape. While breathing deeply, walk your hands in front of you while lowering your chest and forehead to the ground. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
- Lying Glute Stretch – Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Create a figure four by placing your outer right foot on your left knee, then put your hands behind your left knee and pull forward. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then repeat for the other side.
- Forward Fold – Stand straight up with feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your sides. Bring your chin to your chest, then gently roll downward, letting your arms, head and chest drop. When you feel a stretch in your back and hamstrings, stop and hold for 30-60 seconds, then roll back upward.