Rest and relaxation are thought to be related and this has made many overlook the fact that exercise can be very relaxing to the both the body and the mind. While rest doe not necessarily elicit a relaxation response from the body, physical exercise does. This is a fact for most forms of physical activity as well as martial arts movement techniques.
I know you are probably wondering how exercise can cause mind and body relaxation since exercise on its own is actually a form of physical stress. So can physically stressing your body through exercise serve as an effective relaxation technique? It absolutely can, provided you learn to apply the physical stress in a controlled and graded fashion. This section attempts to illustrate clearly how exercise can relax your mind and your body;
Using Aerobic and Endurance Exercise as a relaxation technique
An aerobic exercise not only tones your body and promotes proper heart function but also helps your body and mind to relax. Regular aerobic exercises involve specific body movements that have the unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, provide stimulation and calm the mind. Additionally, aerobic exercises also enable the body to counter depression and dissipate stress which leaves a person completely relaxed and calm.
The mental benefits of aerobic movements actually have a neurochemical basis. When done rightly and done regularly, aerobic exercises reduce levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These exercises stimulate the productions of endorphins which are chemicals in the brain that elevate mood and act as natural painkillers. Ever done aerobic exercises then have an instant ‘high feeling’, this happy and relaxed feeling is as a result of endorphins produced during exercise.
Additionally aerobic exercises will also alleviate issue that cause stress and hinder relaxation of the body and the mind. Aerobics come in handy in shrinking your waistline; this will give you a positive body image and renewed vigor and energy that will give you the discipline to avoid getting depressed or stressed over everyday challenges.
Tips to help you relax using aerobics exercise
- Starting aerobics exercises can be challenging particularly if you are not physically active. Just keep in mind that starting is the hardest part, with time your body will adapt and it will actually become fun. As you gradually begin to get into shape, you will begin to tolerate exercise then you will start enjoying iy and finally you will even depend on aerobics to relax. Considering the numerous benefits of aerobic, there is definitely no harm getting addicted to exercise!
- For aerobics exercises to help you relax, you have to do them on a regular basis and ensure that when exercising your mind is fully focused on it and not distracted by any other thoughts. When your body is busy and your mind is occupied with exercise, you are able to relax and take a break from the hustle and bustle of normal life.
Tai Chi as a Relaxation Technique
Tai Chi is a gentle way to fight stress and relax your mind and body. Apart from helping to reduce anxiety and stress, this martial art technique also helps increase balance and flexibility. This martial art technique was originally developed as a self-defense technique but has revolved overtime to become a graceful form of exercise that is now used a s relaxation technique that can help manage and alleviate stress and anxiety. Tai Chi is often described as meditation in motion because it promotes serenity, calmness and peace of mind through flowing movements.
What is Tai Chi?
It is an ancient Chinese traditional movement that is performed in a slow and focused manner. It is also accompanied by deep and slow breathing. Essentially, Tai Chi is non-competitive, self paced system of gentle stretching and relaxing movements. There are several Tai Chi style, each style has a different focus; while some styles focus on martial arts, others focus on relaxation while others are geared towards relieving muscle tension.
Yoga as a Relaxation Technique
Yoga involves a series of both stationary and moving poses, combined with slow and deep breaths. Yoga cannot only relax your body and mind but can also improve flexibility, stamina and strength balance. If practiced rightly and on a daily basis, this effective relaxation technique can significantly strengthen the relaxation response in your daily mind. Keep in mind that when yoga is practiced incorrectly, it can lead to injuries that can cause further stress. In order for yoga to relax and calm your mind, you need to learn the right techniques from an expert who is both knowledgeable and experienced.
What type of yoga is appropriate for relaxing the body and mind and for relieving tension and stress?
Although most yoga sessions end in a relaxation pose, you need to focus on slow, steady movements and gentle stretching if your ultimate goal is relaxation. Here are some yoga techniques that are most suitable for relaxation and relieving stress and tension;
This kind of yoga movement is characterized by intense poses and a focus on fitness. This form of yoga is better suited for persons looking for stimulation and relaxation.
This hype of yoga is a reasonably gentle way to relax the body and muscles and is particularly suitable for beginners.
This is a traditional form of yoga that is perfect for relaxing the body and calming the mind. This type of yoga is suitable for beginners as well as for anyone primarily looking for a reliable relaxation technique.
Stretching Exercises are a great relaxation Technique
Stretching is an important part of working out that is often ignored but is nonetheless critical in decreasing muscle stiffness and promoting general body relaxation. Relaxation promotes proper circulation of blood and ensures that your muscles are fully relaxed.
Here is how to effectively use stretching exercises as a natural relaxation technique
Stretching exercises when used as a relaxation technique should be performed tight after a workout session. This is because at this juncture your muscles are at their warmest and are more limber.
Try as much as you can to hold on to each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. The trick is to try and push yourself in your muscle without causing yourself any significant amount of pain. Here are a few great stretches that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and relaxed;
Hamstring Stretch; attempt to sit or stand to touch your toes
This technique involves bending one leg at the knee and holding your foot from behind. Ensure you slowly and gently pull your knee backward
This will involves standing on your feet shoulder-width apart. Try and lean over to one side and allow your hand to slide down your leg. Repeat the same process on the other side.
Try and extend one arm over your head; proceed to bending it at the elbow and ensure you gently push that arm behind your head with the other head.
By incorporating these stretches at the end of every work out session, you will be able to significantly increase your range of motion. Getting a good and peaceful night’s sleep and properly planning your exercise regimen to include all the exercise covered in this section will come in handy in relaxing those tense muscles. Experts have learned over the years that exercise plays a crucial role in increasing a person’s ability to relax. Relaxation of the mind and body through exerciser can be a great and reliable way to beat the heat and release the stress of the daunting challenges we face in our hectic lives.