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June 18, 2020 • read
Home workout tips to reduce stress and anxiety
Anxiety is like having a film loop in your mind, playing everything that could go wrong in your life. Unfortunately, more and more people are experiencing persistent anxiety. Especially with COVID-19 and all the complications it’s brought, there are lots of triggers for anxiety these days.
Starting a home workout routine is a powerful way to regain a feeling of control over your life, boost your mood, and improve your overall health. People who exercise regularly are found to be more emotionally resilient. Your mind and your body are connected — when your body is feeling fit and healthy, your mind gets a boost too.
Let’s go through how you can set up a fun, sustainable workout routine at home.
The basics of a workout routine
A well balanced workout routine consists of five parts:
- Strength exercises
- Flexibility exercises
Make sure you take the time to effectively warm up — at least five to ten minutes.
Tips to reduce anxiety through working out
Experts recommend you step up the cardio portion of your workout if you want to reduce anxiety. A common symptom of anxiety is increased heart rate and difficulty breathing. Doing cardio helps lower your resting heart rate over time, and trains your body to breathe during times of stress.
Some great forms of cardio you can do at home are:
- Interval training
- Stationary bike
- Swimming (if you have a pool)
- Running (indoors or outdoors)
- Jump rope
It’s a lot easier to workout if you have basic equipment like a yoga mat and a good pair of running shoes. Other pieces of equipment, like kettlebells, dumbbells, and resistance bands, can really turn up the muscle burn in your workouts.
Experts agree that it’s better to workout even for ten minutes each day, rather than for two hours straight once a week. Consistency will help you build endurance gradually, while reducing your chances of injury. Consistency is also critical in helping you form a new habit. If fitness is something new for you, it’s important to stick with it to reap the full benefits.
Practice good form
Good form will help you get the most “gains” from your workout. It will also make your workouts much more enjoyable. Here are some tips for good form:
- Maintain good posture, with a long straight back, wide shoulders, and keep your gaze straight ahead (not to the floor).
- Keep your weight evenly centred between both of your feet.
- Breathe rhythmically through your workout.
- Keep your core engaged with every movement.
Good form is more important than lifting heavy weights, or running a super long distance. Practicing good form will help you stay injury-free, and you’ll notice physical benefits sooner into your fitness journey.
Being dehydrated can reduce your endurance, and give you headaches while you’re working out. Aim to drink 8-12 ounces of water before you start exercising. During your workout, only take small sips of water to prevent muscle cramps. Over the course of your whole day, follow the 8×8 rule: eight glasses of water, eight ounces each.
Lots of people practice yoga regularly to manage stress and anxiety. Yoga can be the antidote you need to a high-pressure, over-stimulated life. There are no rules around how often you should practice yoga, but a good place to start is once a week.
Yoga helps lower your stress response. When doing yoga, you might find your breath starting to calm, your inhales becoming deeper, your heart rate lowering, and your mind noticing all your physiological cues.
Here are some videos from our friends at Yyoga to help you get started.
Listen to your body
When you start working out, it’s tempting to go on Instagram and compare yourself to professional trainers and athletes. Everyone seems to be working out as if they’re headed to the next Olympic games. Try not to put pressure on yourself to any standard. Only compare yourself to where you were yesterday, last month, and last year.
If you’re feeling tired, achy, and low on motivation, your body might be telling you it needs some rest. Your body needs downtime to recover from your workouts and rebuild muscle. Working out when you’re still fatigued can lead to injury, and stall your fitness results.
Anxiety is tough to live with, but exercise is a huge help in managing your symptoms. Exercise can improve your physiology, which has a direct impact on anxiety flare ups. There are lots of different types of exercise you can do at home. Be consistent, listen to your body, and find an exercise you love to do. Over time, you’ll notice your mood improving and your stress response decreased.
Want to talk to a doctor about starting a fitness program safely? You can speak with a family doctor online.