Stress affects all of us in different ways, and exercise is a great way to relieve that stress, improving your mental health as well as your physical health. And depending on what is stressing you out in life, there are a few different things you can try that will help make you feel a little calmer and more relaxed throughout the week.
1. Yoga / Pilates / Tai Chi / Body Balance classes
If you’re physically stressed and tired
If you lead a very physical life, one that involves too much standing, running around, lifting and carrying, and even lots of time at the gym, then taking a form of relaxing exercise is a great way to release some of that stress.
Classes like yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, or Body Balance combine physical and mental disciplines and help you improve strength and flexibility while encouraging your mind to rest and relax.
According to the Mayo Clinic, yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and lower your heart rate and is suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
2. Outdoor exercise
If you’re stuck in an office all day
If you work in an office of any sort, or spend a lot of time commuting and travelling, just getting yourself outside for some fresh air and sunlight can do wonders for lowering your stress levels.
Take yourself for a walk, hop onto a bike, or take part in an outdoor fitness class. Now that the weather is (kinda) nice, there are ample opportunities to take some time for yourself, clear your head, and stretch your legs.
3. Group exercise / classes
If you’re stressed from too much work or too much time alone
Working through the night on a project or spending all day alone couped up in the office/lab/library (wherever you work). Get out of your typical space and interact with other people to put those social skills to use that you’ve been neglecting. Whether you exercise regularly or just feel the need to get out of work/your home and do something, there will be others to have some camaraderie with.
It’s also a great way to combine exercise with your social life. Grab your gay mates and drag them to a Spinder class where you can sing along to Britney songs and struggle through together.
4. Kickboxing / Combat / Manly things
If you’re stressed and frustrated by life
There are things in life that we cannot change, and there are problems in life that cannot be solved by hitting them – if we want to avoid prosecution, that is. So take your anger and frustration out in a healthier, more acceptable way with kickboxing or some form of manly combat training.
Not only is this type of workout incredible for burning a tonne of calories while building muscle, but it can also reduce stress by building confidence, giving you an energy boost and getting your heart pumping, as well as teaching you proper breathing techniques. The option to visualise your boss’ face on that punching bag will make it time well spent.
If you’re stressed from having no time to yourself
Running is an easy, low-cost, no fuss way to get some exercise and relieve some stress. If you’re surrounded by people all day, crammed into a train every morning, answering phone calls and talking for hours in meetings and presentations, then taking a few minutes for yourself will work wonders.
Running is a hugely rewarding exercise format that allows you to easily track your progress and is something you could do right now. All you need are a pair of trainer and a pair of headphones and off you go.
If you want more tips and ideas for the gym, don’t forget to subscribe to our Weekly Workout Newsletter for weekly workouts (obvs). Or better yet, book in some time with a gay personal trainer who can guide you through your fitness journey.