20 Easy Exercises to Help Reduce Stress

5. Whether you are playing competitively for your health or just for fun, tennis has excellent benefits for your mind and body.  Tennis requires your brain… Trista - December 6, 2020

Playing tennis gets you moving, and moving is great for the body and mind. Tennis is a great exercise option. Why? You can play it at any age and any skill level. Shutterstock

5. Whether you are playing competitively for your health or just for fun, tennis has excellent benefits for your mind and body. 

Tennis requires your brain to be creative and involves planning, tactical thinking, agility, and the coordination of different parts of the body. Therefore, the more you play tennis, the better and stronger the neural connections related to those types of activities become. In addition to improving neural connections and developing new neurons, studies have shown that exercises such as tennis that require much thinking can improve brain function in ways that aid memory, learning, and behavior. When you exert yourself, your body releases endorphins. These hormones work to improve your mood, reduce stress, increase optimism, and even ease the symptoms of depression. Aerobic workouts such as tennis are especially good at improving your mood.

Reducing your stress can carry over to other areas of your life, including your work and interactions with friends and family. If you use tennis to relax and reduce stress, it can help you feel more mentally prepared to deal with whatever life throws at you. Tennis is a great exercise and cardio workout that limits many stress-related conditions such as heart disease. Tennis is also a sport that requires you to connect with others. Studies reveal that staying connected to others is a critical component of stress reduction. If you’re new to the sport, you can research and sign up for lessons to learn the basics and proper form. If you are more experienced, you may look for locals in your area who can meet up at the local park to play a match.

High-intensity interval training reduces your stress levels by getting your heart pumping. Shutterstock

4. Studies have shown that high-intensity interval training is a healthy way to reduce stress while also lowering heart disease and diabetes risk. 

High-intensity interval training is a useful exercise in reducing stress as they combine aerobic, anaerobic, and strength elements into one compact workout. Studies have shown that vigorous activities increase the levels of two common neurotransmitters called glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid. These two neurotransmitters are responsible for chemical messaging in the brain. One of the best reasons to try high-intensity interval training as a way to combat stress is because pretty much anything goes as long as you are completing high-intensity intervals. That means that you can incorporate cardio or weights, and all can help achieve the ultimate goal.

The best part about high-intensity interval training is that it does not require much of your time and is a significant stress reduction because your body will release endorphins to boost your energy and mood. You’ll be able to work out at higher intensities for shorter periods, which makes the workout effective and efficient. You can choose any activity that you like. It is strongly recommended that you warm-up for five to 10 minutes and increase your intensity each time for 30 to 60 seconds. Once you’re done, it’s crucial to reduce the intensity and recover for a few minutes. You will want to repeat the intervals for 20 minutes or more. The results of high-intensity interval training will not only be in physical aspects but mental ones as well.

Adding a meditation practice to your day can work wonders on your stress levels, even if you can only spare five or 10 minutes. Shutterstock

3. Meditation is a type of complementary mind-body medicine; people have practiced it for thousands of years. This exercise can wipe away the day’s stress, bringing with it inner peace. 

Anyone can practice meditation. It is inexpensive and straightforward and doesn’t require any special equipment. You can also practice meditation wherever you are, whether you are out for a walk, riding the bus, or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting. If you find that stress has you anxious, tense, and worried, you may be extremely interested in trying this easy exercise. By spending just a few minutes meditating, you can work towards restoring your calm and inner peace. Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. During meditation, you can focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and creating stress.

The process can result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being. Many different meditation benefits can give you a sense of calm, peace, and balance. When you take the time to meditate, you can clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to your stress levels. You will gain a new perspective on stressful situations while also building skills used to manage your stress. Meditation helps to increase your self-awareness and requires you to focus on the present. Some of the other emotional benefits are that meditation increases your imagination, patience, and tolerance. There are also physical health benefits to meditation. Doctors suggest that meditation can help people manage symptoms of anxiety, depression, and sleep problems. Meditation is an umbrella term for many ways to a relaxed state of being. There are many different types of meditation and relaxation techniques that have meditation components. They all have the same goal of achieving inner peace.

Dancing is a fun and creative exercise that can also have the added benefits of reducing your stress levels. Shutterstock

2. Dancing has many benefits, including physical, mental, and even emotional. The best part is that there is no list of rules, do’s, and don’ts attached.

There are many perks to dancing. Anyone can participate, and there are no rules to a right or wrong way of dancing. The scientific reason why dance can act as a stress reliever stems from the concept that when the body feels good, the mind does too. Any type of physical activity releases neurotransmitters and endorphins, which serve to alleviate stress. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers to reduce stress and improve the mind’s perception of the world. Therefore after a good workout, the released endorphins cause your body to feel calm and optimistic. Endorphins help enhance the quality of sleep. That way, you can avoid sleepless nights due to stress after a day of dancing.

Your work environment may not always be the best place to express who you are. More often than not, you need to present a professional and buttoned-up version of yourself. Dancing offers a creative outlet for people to express who they are through music and movement. Since there are no rules or guidelines to dance effectively, you can participate in this easy activity and let your body go with the flow. Dancing has many emotional well-being benefits, but it also has many physical health benefits. It can increase your flexibility, strengthen your bones, and build muscle tone. In fact, dancing is a total body workout. Moving your body through dancing can be an easy way to stay fit for people of all ages. Nothing makes you feel less stressed than when you know you are doing great things for your physical and mental health.

Unlike most other exercises that require you to be physically active, mind exercises are among the best stress relievers. Shutterstock

1. Mind exercises focus on your brain rather than your whole body. However, they will ultimately have an impact on your entire body. 

You can use two main mind exercises to reduce stress. The first is guided imagery. Over and over, guided imagery is proven to reduce stress levels. Guided imagery helps you to use your imagination to take you to a calm, peaceful place. Due to how the mind and body are connected, guided imagery can help make you feel that you are experiencing something just by imagining it. You can do guided imagery with audio recordings, an instructor, or a script to help lead you through the process. While performing guided imagery, you utilize all of your senses. For instance, if you want a tropical setting, you can imagine the warm breeze on your skin, the slight of the bright blue water, the sound of the surf, or the taste of coconuts. Imagining yourself in a calm, peaceful setting can help you relax and relieve stress.

The second type of mental exercise is chanting. It is a form of meditation but in an intensified way. Studies have found that chanting can decrease stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Simultaneously, it can increase a positive mood, feelings of relaxation, and focused attention. You can sit with your eyes closed and choose a mantra, either a word or phrase and recite it while breathing in and out. First, chant your word or phrase quietly several times, then chant without making any sound. Try to feel calm, relaxed, and comfortable. For several days you can practice saying your chant quietly to yourself while being in a relaxed state. When you experience acute stressors, chant silently to yourself. You’ll notice how this relaxes and calms you, allowing you to focus.