Stressed? In a fog? Frustrated? Let’s face it. There are times when we could all use a little attitude adjustment. Exercise has been shown to have an immediate positive effect on cognitive functioning and wellbeing. Next time you’re feeling low and need a pick me up try one of these workouts to put a little pep back in your step.
Yoga encourages mental and physical relaxation, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. The physical postures enhance flexibility, release tension, and reduce aches and pains. The breathwork teaches you to relax and regulate your breathing which provides a calm inner state and better overall mental clarity.
Stress creates tension in the body and one of the best ways to release tension is through movement. Instead of stewing in your anger or frustration try punching out a few rounds. As you move and get your heart rate up, not only will you release those feel-good hormones but you can also visualize what’s negatively bogging you down and use boxing as an outlet to work through your emotions.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed and can’t seem to focus it’s time to get your heart rate up. During cardiovascular exercise, your heart rate and blood flow increase, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to your brain, which keeps your brain cells healthy. This increased blood flow creates new neurons in the brain – a process called neurogenesis. Researchers concluded that regular exercise can improve neuroplasticity and protect against neurodegeneration. When you don’t work out regularly, your brain can fog up like a windshield, which leads to serious long-term cognitive risks.
Joseph Pilates, the founder of Pilates, had a holistic approach to fitness. Breathing is the essence of his method. It not only helps facilitate deep muscular core engagement but also calms the mind. The detail-oriented movements and intricate breathwork of a Pilates workout help clear the mind and strengthen the mind-body connection.
Pilates also enhances flexibility and releases tension. Pilates includes stretching and rolling, which can help lengthen every part of the body, open up joints, stretch muscles and improve circulation. All of which boost both the duration and quality of sleep.
The most important element of any workout is that you enjoy it. When you enjoy the movement it’s much easier to stay committed and ultimately make exercise a habit. Don’t be afraid to try different modalities from different instructors. You never know which class could be your new favorite workout.
Amanda Jenny has been in the fitness industry for over a decade. She has taught Pilates, barre, TRX, and HIIT classes, as well as dance She's a founding Instructor at bande, a digital fitness community that is revolutionizing how we connect and work out together, remotely.