When work projects start piling up faster than you can churn them out, your stress levels can skyrocket pretty quickly. All of those office demands can put a strain on your relationship or other friendships, making matters even worse. While a little bit of pressure now and again can actually be a good thing, prolonged stress is another matter.
Exercise is one of the greatest ways to reduce stress while helping you get in shape. We’re sharing six of our favorite workouts to help you feel decidedly more zen. Stress doesn’t stand a chance.
You’re not the only one out there who sometimes feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You probably have tons of friends dealing with the same kinds of anxieties, so grab a pal and head to the tennis court the next time you’re feeling frazzled. AZCentral says tennis is a great way to blow off steam, because it’s an aerobic activity that manages the stress hormones while boosting feel-good endorphins. Interestingly, the sport can actually be a source of stress during a competitive game. That could actually be good, though, because it will teach you how to manage it more successfully.
It’s also pretty hard to deny the satisfaction of smacking a ball with all your might. If you can’t find a partner to join in, tennis is still a great choice. You can do drills and simulate a volley by bouncing the ball off a wall. Run to fetch your own serves, and you’ll boost the cardiovascular benefits even more.
2. Interval training
Sometimes the pressure to accomplish a ton of tasks in a tiny amount of time can be the source of your anxiety. When there’s so much work to be done, the thought of trying to squeeze in a workout might seem laughable. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or go for a 10-mile run to chill out, though. Verywell says interval workouts are particularly good for reducing stress since they let you work at a high-intensity level for shorter time periods. That means you can cut down on the amount of time you spend exercising.
This is also a great method for guys who find themselves both stressed and angry. AskMen says the vigorous bursts are a great way to work through your aggression. And this type of training applies to almost any physical activity. You can do intervals on the treadmill, a bike, or a row machine. Ideally, you want to aim for 15 to 20 minutes.
Take a peek inside any yoga studio and you’ll find one or two men, if any. Its reputation as a female-only activity needs to be upended, because yoga is one of the best strengthening exercises, regardless of gender. Starting with the physical benefits, Men’s Fitness explains yoga helps prevent injuries, improves flexibility, and builds more muscle since it targets areas your weight routine might ignore.
As for stress, it really can’t be beat. The article went on to explain yoga employs multiple relaxation techniques to help you feel calmer in everyday life. Feeling more zen will allow you to take a step back, instead of freaking out over the little things. Because of this ability to think more clearly, STACK says yoga is one of the best exercises to help athletes stay focused during games. You can apply the same mentality to work. If you’re able to think about the bigger picture, you’ll be able to make better decisions and work through problems faster.
4. Weight lifting
Some guys dread the cardio portion of their workouts so much that the thought of hitting the treadmill might actually cause more stress than it relieves. Good news — weight training could be just as beneficial. Bodybuilding.com explains lifting heavy weights helps you channel your negative energy, which can help lift your mood. In fact, Livestrong says using heavy weight to strain your muscles can actually boost your endorphins faster than cardio. For the most benefit, focus on lifts that target large amounts of muscle and multiple joints.
While any form of exercise can help reduce stress, you want to pick an activity that focuses on the root of the problem. Active.com says boxing is a great choice for men who feel angry since it’s a combative sport. Each punch you throw into a bag will help you work out your aggression in a much healthier way than getting into a shouting match with colleagues or family members.
While beating up a bag is a great way to help you feel better temporarily, Livestrong says it’s important to incorporate some sort of mental workout in order to make your stress vanish for good. This can include writing in a journal or talking things through with a friend.
Going for a bike ride is a great way to get your heart pumping and your legs burning. It’s also one of the best ways to reduce anxiety. Bicycling explains regularly incorporating cycling into your life helps manage levels of cortisol and adrenaline. That means you’ll feel less stressed after a ride and also learn to cope with high-pressure situations better in the future.
You’ll get the greatest benefit from biking if you pedal for more than 30 minutes. If finding an extra half hour during your busy day doesn’t seem like a possibility, consider commuting by bike. A study from the University of Aberdeen found people who traveled to work via bicycle reported significantly lower levels of stress and a greater sense of freedom than those who opted for the car or public transit. You could eliminate your stress and save money on gas at the same time.