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Stress affects your mind and body in many ways and is a contributor to a large number of health problems, such as high blood pressure, anxiety, and insomnia. While workouts in generally can help get your energy moving, increasing endorphins and helping you feel better, here are four of the best for stress relief and good mental health.

1. Yoga

Probably one of the most well-known workouts for calming the mind and enhancing recovery from weightlifting, according to Mayo Clinic, it may help lower blood pressure, stress levels and your heart rate. If you don’t already have a practice, it can be worth trying a few different classes to see which you prefer. All styles of yoga will have a focus on slow deep breathing, which on its own automatically helps to calm the nervous system, but there are some differences.

  • Hatha

Particularly good for beginners and for relieving stress, Hatha may be the ideal choice for someone who wants something more meditative. It is typically gentle, with the poses, called asanas, held for a longer time than in Vinyasa.

  • Vinyasa

This style may be better for those that want to really feel like they’re getting a more of a workout. With Vinyasa, you flow from one position to another without holding each one for very long. Power yoga is typically a more extreme version of Vinyasa.

  • Bikram

Bikram yoga has become more and more popular in recent years. The key difference with this style is that it is done in a room kept at 105°F. Care has to be taken, however, as the heat can allow you to stretch your muscles more than they are really ready for.

  • Other

There are many other styles of yoga, such as Kundalini, Yin Yoga, Restorative and Ashtanga. Restorative, in particular, is a very gentle style where your body is supported with blocks, straps, or bolsters in order to allow you to stretch gradually.

2. Pilates

Like yoga, Pilates requires focusing on your core muscles, as well as your breathing. Controlled breathing helps relax the nervous system and focusing on something other than one’s problems helps to relieve anxiety. Like yoga, it is an exercise form that works to elongate as well as strengthen muscles. This stretching helps to release mental, in addition to physical, tension.

3. Outdoor Cardio

Any aerobic, r cardiovascular, type of exercising will get your heart pumping and those endorphins flowing. Doing your cardio outside will have the added benefit of being out in nature, which has also been shown to relax the mind, reduce stress, and improve one’s mood.

4. Weight Lifting

There may be more studies regarding cardio workouts and their effects on your state of mind, but there is evidence that weight lifting, or strength training, can also be of assistance. Some studies have shown it is effective at reducing anxiety and improving sleep, for example.

Choose your Individual Stress Relieving Workout

With all these choices, and these are just the top options, you should have no problem finding a great stress relieving workout that fits your needs and interests. Even better, you can switch it up between them, which can help keep you mentally positive and motivated.


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