5 Stress-Beating Exercises to Help You Keep Your Cool
April is Stress Awareness Month, and with summer just around the corner, it’s also a great time to reboot health and fitness resolutions and officially say goodbye to our cozy winter routines. Who says you can’t address your mental and physical wellness at the same time? Exercise is often noted as one method for managing stress, but when it comes to easing tension and anxiety, some workouts are better and more efficient than others. We talked to Frida Harju, an expert from health app Lifesum, to find out her top five stress-busting exercises.
1. Running: Maybe going for a jog is your least favorite way to squeeze in a cardio workout, but hear us out: Running is one of the best ways to relieve stress. Even if you’re not very “good” at it, running is a high-intensity activity that releases mood-lifting endorphins. According to Harju, it’s also “a form of exercise that requires very little active thinking, allowing your mind to completely switch off and let go of all the troublesome thoughts that may be weighing it down.” It sounds a little like meditation, right? See how it feels to go for a jog without putting pressure or expectations on yourself… you may start to love that zen running feeling, after all.
2. Martial Arts: If you’ve always secretly wanted to try out karate, judo, kendo, or any of the other many disciplines of martial arts, their stress-fighting benefits should give you the final push you’ve needed to actually take a class. “Martial arts allow you to physically channel the energy and frustration that stress creates, while also giving your entire body a great workout,” Harju says. It doesn’t hurt that learning martial arts is also a great way to empower yourself with some basic self-defense techniques. Hi-ya!
3. Office Stretches: We’re willing to bet our brand new spring trench that a lot of the stress you’re feeling comes straight from the office. Your boss may be a challenge to deal with or your colleagues may be more frenemies than friends, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find ways to relieve stress at work. Harju suggests a few stretches that you can do without even leaving your chair. Try placing your head into your hands, pressing your palms into your forehead as if to push your head backwards, and resisting using your neck muscles. Then, clasp your hands together behind your head and push your head backwards, this time using your hands to resist. Our necks and shoulders tend to carry a lot of stress, and these stretches will loosen those tired muscles.
4. Team Sports: “Exercising with others, particularly as part of a team, can be incredibly rewarding, as it establishes positive relationships and camaraderie,” Harju says. “Socializing is also a good way to manage stress, since it can make you feel relaxed and reduce anxiety.” Check out local intramural leagues (sure, kickball counts) or put a team together yourself. Then get out there on that field! If you ever played a sport like volleyball, basketball, or soccer in high school or college, you’ll also get a confidence boost from rediscovering your skills.
5. Yoga: It’s no secret that yoga is as good for your mind as it is for your body. “Not only will yoga push your body, but it’ll also loosen up your muscles and afford you a sense of calm through the focus on breathing,” Harju says. Grab your mat, try a down dog or two, and breathe your worries away.
What are your favorite workouts for relieving stress? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Brit + Co)
Fall is right around the corner, and we're getting amped up for our next session of Selfmade, Brit + Co's 10-week interactive startup school. Designed to help you create a new business or grow your existing one, this course is personally led by Brit + Co founder Brit Morin and co-founder Anjelika Temple, and supported by more than a dozen of the top female entrepreneurs, creatives, and investors in the country. Students receive personalized coaching on everything from how to get out of your comfort zone to how to scale your business, and everything in between. And now, thanks to Office Depot, even more of you can join the course!
For the fall session, we're thrilled to team up with Office Depot to grant 200 FREE scholarship seats to the course. Scholarships are open to US residents, focusing on women of color, women from underserved and underrepresented communities, and women in need of support to help them trail-blaze. After all, we firmly believe that your support system is a huge part of how you achieve greatness, and we are here to cheer all of you on.
To nominate yourself or someone you know for a scholarship, head to our nomination form right here. The deadline for scholarship nominations is September 27th — it's time to take the leap!
Beyond the scholarship, Office Depot is all about helping you accomplish more. Whether it be the start phase, growth phase or keep businesses going phase, Office Depot offers a full suite of business solutions, including services and products, to help you work from anywhere, organize and save time and help build your brand.
So what are you waiting for? Take a chance on yourself and get yourself one step closer to truly being selfmade. Learn more about the Selfmade program, apply for a scholarship and prepare to be inspired :)