You’ve heard it time and time again — exercise relieves stress. It improves your overall self-esteem and releases endorphins. You’ve probably heard this to a point where you’re immune; if one more person advises you to “get on a treadmill and feel your stress melt away,” you’ll go insane.
There are other ways to integrate peace and serenity into our lives. Most of the time that’s by doing things far from ordinary. Changing your stress patterns often involves going out of your comfort zone, and this also holds true for your exercise routines. Here are four uncommon ways to relieve stress.
1. Trail/mountain biking
Stress can best be relieved outside. Humans aren’t meant to spend 90% of their lives inside an office, a home, or a gym. According to Psychology Today, decades of research shows that interactions with nature have plenty of life-improving effects including an enhanced use of our senses, a higher satisfaction with life, increased productivity at work, and an enhanced ability to cope with stress and recover from illness and injury.
With that being said, rent, buy, or borrow a bike and hit the trails. Pedaling through the fresh air will not only help you feel free from your problems but it will also provide you with a killer workout.
Biking is touted as one of the best workouts due to its ability to hit every muscle, including your core. Hitting the outdoor trails versus pedaling on a stationary bike allows you to compete with only yourself, not the workout fanatic cycling next to you. At the end of your bike ride, you’ll be surprised to find how addicting it can be.
2. Standup paddle boarding
Standup paddle boarding, or SUP, is the latest health trend for a good reason. Like biking, paddle boarding is a fantastic full-body workout. Many also credit SUP as a major stress reliever due to the rhythmic paddle motions.
It keeps your mind engaged because you are constantly pushing yourself through the water. And of course, you are immersed completely in nature. Find a lake, a river, or an ocean. There are SUP classes in almost every state that allow you to take advantage of this great workout.
3. Team sports
Joining a local sports league is a great way to interact with new people, engage in friendly competition, and get your body moving. Whether you join a tennis, basketball, or kickball league, you will constantly move new muscles in your body to make for an effective workout.
According to Livestrong, team sports also allow diversion from your problems. If you are focusing on your swing or your next move in whatever game you play you are forced to forget about responsibilities that may await you.
4. Workout classes
Like the former stress-relieving options, workout classes allow you to engage in whatever you’re doing. If you are working out by yourself, you may find that your mind circles back to all of the crazy stressors in your life.
However, if you are involved in a workout class, be it a HIIT class, yoga, Pilates, or kickboxing, you are engaging with other humans around you and focusing on what the instructor is telling you. This works especially well during the winter months, or anytime you can’t workout outside; group classes hold you accountable and keep you motivated.