Exercise to Relieve Stress… to Relax!

It is very difficult to relax if you are on stress overload.  So, it could be said that you must first reduce your stress in order to experience maximum relaxation.

Kitesurfing Relieves Stress

Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress.  When you exercise, your body releases endorphins – the hormones that combat stress and tension.  For a short while, you are focusing on something other than the problems at hand.  Hopefully, that focus will help you forget your problems – or at least put them into perspective.

Here are some great exercises that help fight stress and will ultimately take you to a state of relaxation.


Pilates for Stress ReliefNamed after the founder – Joseph Pilates – this exercise combines controlled movements and mat exercises.  Pilates is famous for toning the body.  If you look good, you’ll feel better about yourself.  It is pretty difficult to feel stressed about things when you have such a high level of self-confidence.


Yoga combines poses (both moving and stationary) with deep breathing.  This type of exercise will enhance your body’s natural relaxation response.  For maximum stress relief, choose gentle yoga or yoga for beginners.  Power yoga might not do as much to relax your body.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is similar to yoga because it incorporates both flowing body actions and breathing exercises.  The entire purpose of the exercise is to calm the mind and improve the condition of the body.  One of the best features of tai chi is that it can be preformed anywhere.  No matter where you are when stress strikes, you have a go-to relaxation technique.

Martial Arts Reduces Stress

Martial Arts

The term martial arts encompasses a wide variety of exercise techniques like Krav Maga, karate, judo, tae kwon do, and more.  All these workouts have one thing in common – they help you release energy, frustration and tension.  It is impossible to feel relaxed if you feel frustrated or tense.  Plus, many of these exercises teach self-defense.  You can feel much more calm and relaxed in a new environment if you know you can protect yourself.

Aerobic Exercises

High-energy workouts – like inline roller-skating, dancing, spinning, running, or even kitesurfing – will increase your heart rate.  The higher your heart rate, the more endorphins will be released.  These natural opiates will enhance your mindset and physical well-being.

Team Sports

All team sports – like baseball, football, soccer, basketball, and volleyball – have a two-part perks system.  First, the intense workout will release tons of good-feeling endorphins.  Second, you’ll be having fun with friends and family.  Nothing beats stress more effectively than time with loved ones (unless, of course, they are the ones causing the stress!).


This workout focuses on controlled punching and kicking.  An intense kickboxing session will improve your balance, flexibility, coordination, and concentration.  Plus, you’ll have an excellent outlet to release energy, frustration, and anger.

Rock Climbing Relieves Stress

Outdoor Activities

There are plenty of great outdoor activities that will boost your mood and your health.  Try biking, cross-country skiing, rock climbing or trail running.  The change of scenery and fresh air will make your stress melt away.  Plus, being in a beautiful outdoor setting – like a trail around the lake, a mountain walking path, or just a local park – will boost your spirits significantly.

Do you use exercise to reduce stress and get relaxed?  If so, which exercise do you rely on?  Do you have a suggestion we left off the list?  Let us know in the comments below!

Guest author Julie Ackerman works for a chiropractor in Ocala (check out http://mychiropractorocala.com).  After a long and tiring day helping patients, she often looks for creative ways to unwind.  For example, she takes a kickboxing class once a week to combat stress and stay relaxed.

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One Response to “Exercise to Relieve Stress… to Relax!”

  1. Rob says:

    Any type of exercise from relaxing Yoga to strenuous workouts, all help to reduce stress in our daily lives. Thanks for sharing!

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