How to Exercise to Relax

By Lana Bandoim

Most people associate exercise with a desire to lose weight or get in shape. Others use it to help manage chronic health problems. However, there is another side to exercise, and it focuses on using it to relax. The next time you are tired of running on a treadmill or cannot look at another set of dumbbells, consider the following options.

Breathing Exercises

Simple breathing exercises can make relaxation easier. There is no need to worry about sweating or burning out while doing them. You can do breathing exercises in any location, but a quiet room is usually better. Close the eyes and pay attention to the breathing rate. Start by slowly inhaling and expanding the diaphragm. Then, exhale completely and think about relaxing every muscle in the body.

Consider trying different repetitions such as 10 breaths or 15 breaths in a row. Focus on breathing deeply and push away thoughts that lead to anxiety or stress.

Mind Exercises

In some cases, mind exercises can encourage relaxation. Listening to calm music or sitting in a quiet area is a good starting point. There are many different types of mind exercises used for relaxation, but there are common features among them. For example, some exercises ask you to think about a peaceful vacation spot to reenact it in the mind. Others ask you to think of a moment filled with joy to relive it. 

Meditation

Meditation is a technique designed to relax the mind and change the state of consciousness. Although deep breathing is part of the technique, it is not the only way to meditate. You can also repeat specific mantras over and over again to help the brain focus.

Another way to meditate is to clear the mind of all thoughts. The goal of this exercise is to free the mind from stress and anxiety. Visualization or guided imagery can also help during meditation.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation 

Progressive muscle relaxation requires you to tense and relax every muscle in the body slowly. This shifts the focus away from the mind to the body and encourages deep relaxation. You can start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in the face and move down the body. One muscle should be tense at a time.

Instead of rushing to the gym, consider taking a rest day and doing a different type of exercise. The body needs rest to fight stress, so exercises that encourage relaxation are important.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic. 

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