5 Exercises Designed to Help You De-Stress

Your schedule is hectic. On any given day you have a thousand things to do and not enough time to do it. You’re stressed, but what can you do about it? In one word: exercise. In fact, there are specific exercises designed to help you calm down and relax your mind, all while helping you burn some calories and work up a sweat. So the next time you’re feeling as though you have too much to do, take a few minutes and do one of these exercises first.

1. Full-body routine

This workout, featured in Fitness, takes 15 minutes and is guaranteed to help you calm down while toning your body from head to toe. You’ll need a watch with a second hand and a mat or carpeted surface for these workouts. Do each exercise series for five to six minutes and repeat once. For the final three to five minutes, just sit in a cross-legged position with your eyes closed, breathing deeply.

  1. Reverse plank to lower-back stretch: Start by sitting with your hands on the floor next to your hips, fingers forward and palms flat, with your legs extended and chest arched toward the ceiling. Press into your feet and lift your hips as high as you can, holding for 30 seconds. Then, lie back and hug your knees into your chest and rock gently through the hips for 30 seconds.
  2. Elbow plank to prone press-up: You’ll start in plank position with your palms and forearms on the floor and your elbows under your shoulders. Keep your arms parallel and your legs extended behind you, forming a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 30 seconds and then lower your body to the floor, lifting your abs and chest while arching your upper back. Hold for 30 seconds.
  3. Plié to full-seated bend: Stand in a plié position, with your feet shoulder-width apart and turned out. Then, lift your arms overhead in a wide V position and bend your knees 90 degrees. Pulse up and down 2 inches for 30 seconds. Sit with your legs extended, hinge forward from your hips and grasp your feet, then hold for 30 seconds and breath deeply.
  4. Front lunge to forward elbow fold: Stand with feet hip-width apart and lunge forward with your left leg. Raise your hands overhead, palms facing each other, and return to start with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hinge forward, grasping opposite elbows and stay there for 20 to 30 seconds.
  5. Side elbow plank to overhead reach: Lie on your left side with hips stacked and elbows on the floor under your shoulder. Extend your right arm toward the ceiling and stagger your right foot in front of the left. Lift your hips, balancing on your lower arm and the edges of your feet, holding for 20 seconds. Lower your hips to the floor and arc your right arm overhead, reaching for 20 seconds. Switch sides.

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Source: iStock

2. Walk

Simple, but true. According to the Huffington Post, “while just about any walk will help to clear your head and boost endorphins (which, in turn, reduces stress hormones), consider walking in a park or other green space, which can actually put your body into a state of meditation, thanks to a phenomenon known as ‘involuntary attention’ during which something holds our attention, but simultaneously allows for reflection.”

3. Yoga

Self writes that striking a yoga pose is sure to clear your mind and tone your body. “To clear your head, stand with feet hip-width apart, your butt against a wall. Bend forward, grab your forearms, and let your head hang, breathing deeply,” Kathryn Budig, a yoga instructor, told the publication.

4. Stretch

Inspired by an Oprah workout, this exercise uses stretching to help you feel centered and calm.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and your hands on your abdomen. Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale gradually.
  2. Bring your knees to your chest while continuing to inhale and exhale. Make sure you’re not holding your breath — keep your breathing steady.
  3. Place your legs straight on the floor, lifting your right leg and bending it at the knees so your leg is at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Bring your right knee across your body until it touches the floor, making sure your shoulders remain flat. Use your left hand to push down your knee, increasing the stretch. Repeat on the other side.
  4. Lie flat on your back, pull in your feet until the soles of your shoes are touching, and spread your knees as far apart apart as possible. Finally, apply pressure with your hands.

5. Tai chi

This is a great way to work out while focusing on breathing techniques that are guaranteed to get you to a calm place. “Tai- Chi is a series of slow controlled movements that allows you to stretch your muscles while using controlled breathing. It consists of flowing movements that ease your body while still working your muscles,” says Her Campus.

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