Choose your own adventure: the best workouts for every type of stress
There are a zillion reasons to work out. It’s good for your heart. You can meet up with your friends for a party on a bike. It’ll help you look and feel your best. Name a reason, and you’ll find tons of others who are motivated by it to exercise. But one of the biggest reasons many people hit the gym is to relieve stress.
Whatever form of exercise floats your boat, you’re bound to achieve some stress relief. You can get out your aggression and flood your body with those endorphins and serotonin. It’s the best natural happy pill you could get.
And while any type of exercise will benefit your stress levels, not all stress is created equal. You choose everything else in your life carefully, so why not tailor your workouts to ensure the best stress relief possible? After all, bubbling anger may need something a bit more intense than a Yin yoga class. So instead, we want you to choose your own stress-relieving adventure. Identify which type of stress you’re feeling, and we’ll tell you which workout will send that same stress packing.
Blood-boiling anger: Boxing
Sometimes your stress and anger just get the better of you. You want to scream at your boss or you feel like smashing some bottles. And while that might feel good in the moment, we’d bet you’ll regret it later. Instead, take that anger and channel it into something constructive. Check out a boxing or kickboxing class and throw some punches.
General frustration: Yoga
Now sometimes you are stressed and frustrated but not quite to the same extent. You want to grumble under your breath or mock someone inside your head. Here, throwing a few punches probably won’t serve you that well. Instead, hitting the mat and engaging in a practice that channels your energy toward gratitude instead of frustration. Camel or fish pose are particularly good for opening up the space around your heart, and savasana (our personal favourite) will help you slow down.
Nervous energy: Rocycle
When you’re feeling excited or a bit antsy, there’s nothing better than a little party on a bike. Aerobic activity like cycling will deepen your breathing and improve your oxygen transport. This will help you relieve muscle tension. The mental challenge of focusing on getting all the moves right and hitting all those tap-backs on the beat will allow you to detach from your nerves for at least the 45 minutes you’re on the bike. The bumping beats are also shown to improve your energy and mood.
Constant stress: Fascial Stretch Therapy
This one may seem a little out there, but trust us, it works. If you have chronic, low-level stress from work, relationships or just generally being an adult, it is important to relieve the tension that’s stored up in your body. That way, your mind will be able to relieve its tension in turn. Stretching on your own is all well and good, but you won’t be able to achieve the same depth of stretch you’ll get from assisted stretching.
Subtle sadness: Rowing
It doesn’t always happen to us, but on occasion, our stress leaves us feeling a little bit down in the dumps. And when that happens, the best thing you can do is take your mind completely off your worries, for at least a little while. That’s where a repetitive and strenuous activity like rowing is perfect. You’ll not have the energy or brain space to focus on what’s troubling you, and you’ll feel strong, powerful and accomplished once you’ve finished your session. And perhaps your worries will feel a little less significant afterward!