What Exercises Are Best for Stress Relief?

May 15, 2024

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and let stress build-up. Traffic jams, running behind, relationships, and just daily responsibilities in general can all stack up on top of each other, leaving you in a tense state. Stress can be hard on the body, affecting you in more ways than you may realize, and once you’re wound up, it can be hard to get yourself back to a relaxed state.

One of the best ways to blow off some steam is exercise, and there are a lot of great ones you can do every day that will help you refocus and relax. As you look for healthy stress relief practices, check out seven exercises to do every day that will help you face the world in a calm and collected state of mind!

1. Walking

Going for a walk outside or on a treadmill is one of the best ways to stop your mind from racing and recenter. Walking for 30 minutes a day gets you out of the house and lets you focus on what is around you instead of the thoughts racing through your head that may distract you. Walking is great for your body and mind, releasing endorphins and helping you refocus and recharge mentally and physically.  

When walking, try to focus on your breathing and the rhythm of your steps, paying attention to the tension in your body. You can either throw on some relaxing music or simply listen to the world around you. Just make sure you’re trying to be mindful of staying in the moment and not fixate on what you’re stressed about. 

2. Running or Jogging 

If you’re up to it, a good-paced run or jog is also a fantastic way to destress. Like walking, running and jogging releases endorphins that can lower your stress levels. Running has been proven to increase cardiovascular health and sleep quality, so even after you’re done, you’ll still be reaping the benefits throughout the rest of the day.

If you’re just starting out with running, don’t worry too much about distance or speed. As long as you’re making the concerted effort to move your body,  you’ll be well on your way to feeling refreshed and recharged. 

3. Yoga

Yoga is a fantastic way to destress, as it combines stretching, breathwork, and mindfulness all in one workout. Dedicating 15-20 minutes of your day doing a yoga circuit can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while strengthening your body and reducing tension. 

As you do yoga, focusing on your breath is a major part of reaping the most benefits form the workout. Incorporating deep breathing with your movements will help quiet your mind and relax your nervous system, helping you focus on the movements you’re performing and really dig deep. 

If you stick with yoga, you’ll notice an improvement in your balance, both body and mind. You may also feel more at peace and centered to take on the day at your full potential. When you don’t know where to start with yoga, pop into a local yoga class to learn the proper movements and breathing best practices!

4. Strength Training

Strength training using weights, resistance bands, or your own body weight is a surefire way to clear your mind and focus on the task at hand. Strength training can help build muscle to make you stronger physically, and having goals you can reach with steady progression is a fantastic way to boost your self-esteem. 

You don’t have to lift a lot to reap the benefits of strength training. Even starting out with lightweight workouts can make you feel great and less stressed. Focusing on proper form, economical movement, and really digging deep to give it your all has been scientifically proven to improve your mood and reduce anxiety levels. The next time you feel overwhelmed, maybe think about heading down to your local fitness club and getting some reps in. 

5. Dance

Turning on your favorite upbeat song and letting your body move freely is a surefire way to get your stress levels down. Whether it’s salsa, hip-hop, or classical, any type of music can be danced to—all that matters is that you get your body moving! Dancing burns calories and improves cardiovascular health, but it’s also a great creative outlet. You’re free to move your body how you feel in the moment, expressing yourself both physically and mentally.

Lots of fitness clubs have dance classes you can attend if you’d rather be in a group setting. They’re a great way to get out of the house, meet like-minded people, and establish a sense of community.

6. Pilates 

Pilates is a low-impact workout that focuses on core-strength. It can be incorporated into your daily routine to reduce stress, improve posture, and alleviate muscle tension. Your core is the trunk of your body, and having a strong center can help reduce chronic pain and tension that may be contributing to your anxiety levels and discomfort throughout the day. 

If you’re just starting out, a local Pilates class is an awesome way to introduce you to the practice. Pilates has exploded in popularity in recent years, and it might be just what you need to help you on your fitness journey and improve your mental health! 

7. Tai Chi

For hundreds of years, people have been practicing Tai Chi to stay in shape physically and mentally. Tai Chi is a low-impact martial arts practice that emphasizes flowing movements and breathwork. 

While doing Tai Chi, you’ll transition through a series of carefully established movements that have been refined over and over by practitioners throughout its history. Setting aside 30 minutes to an hour a day for a Tai Chi session is a great way to establish a sense of balance, inner peace, and mental clarity. 

Destress at City Fitness 

If you’re feeling the stresses of the world and want to try one of the methods in this article, there’s no better place to start than City Fitness! Whether you’re just beginning on your fitness journey or looking to join a new club, City Fitness has everything you need to let the world go for a little while and really focus on your body and mind. 

Review our class schedule and see if there’s anything that catches your eye at one of our City Fitness locations. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the closest City Fitness to you.

City Fitness is also delighted to offer all newcomers a Complimentary Experience that allows them to come and check out any of our locations for a day at no cost to them. Come take a class and hit up the sauna when you’re done!