You’ve probably heard countless times that exercise will slash your stress. But does the idea of lacing up your sneakers stress you out even more? Maybe that’s because you haven’t found the exercise that’s right for your stress type – the way you feel when you get stressed.
We don’t all experience stress the same way, so why would we deal with it the same way? Here's how you can find out the right stress-relieving workout for you.
You feel: Anxious
Yoga: A 2010 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that yoga was better than walking at relieving anxiety. One possible reason: Yoga helps reduce your heart rate, which quickens when you’re anxious. With yoga’s calming poses, your breathing slows, easing your body into a state of greater relaxation
You feel: Depressed
Walking outside with a group: The benefit is substantial, according to a large 2014 study in Ecopsychology. While researchers found that group nature walks were linked with overall improvements in mood, the impact was especially high in people who had recently experienced a major life stress, such as death of a loved one, marital separation or unemployment. Can’t find an outdoor walking group? Make your own!
You feel: Secretly stressed
Dancing in the kitchen: You don't want to share your problems with others, but you need to find a release before stress takes a toll on your health. So put on some music while you're cooking dinner and get groovin'.
Here’s why it works: Exercise stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals known as endorphins, and music can help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. (Bonus: No one will guess you're stressed out if they catch you singing into a spatula.)
You feel: Angry
Kickboxing: This rigorous workout helps you blow off steam while also improving balance, coordination and even self-defense skills. Can’t get to a kickboxing class? No problem. Aerobic exercise in general helps kick an angry mood to the curb.
And if that’s not enough of a reason to make you put on some spandex, consider this: Within two hours of an episode of an intense anger or high anxiety, the risk of heart attack increases 8.5 times and 9.5 times, respectively, according to a 2015 study in European Heart Journal: Acute Cardiovascular Care.