Did you know that one of the greatest benefits of regular exercise is its stress-busting ability? This is something I emphasize to my students again and again. I’m happy to say that not only have many of my students dropped weight and toned their bodies with my fitness programs, but they also feel happier, are more relaxed, and definitely feel less stressed.
Today, I’m going to show you three simple tools you can use to melt away stress at home. These moves not only will tone and shape your body, but they’ll really help you unwind and release pent-up frustration. Ready to begin?
1. Deep-Breathing Exercises
Just the other day I had a big interview. I felt a little anxious, actually a lot anxious! And I knew that I should calm my emotions down so I could do great. So in my car, I simply closed my eyes and took 20 deep breaths. It worked like a charm.
Close your eyes and take 10-20 deep breaths to where you are really feeling it in your belly and as the air fills up your lungs. Count each one to keep you even more focused. On the exhale, you’ll feel your belly and lungs relax.
Meditation is rather simple, yet because we are habitual thinkers, we think it’s hard. But I assure you, just like exercise, the more you do it, the better you’ll do and the better results you’ll get.
The point of meditation is for quieting the mind and becoming more aware and in touch with yourself. It’s also what I call “cleaning house.” When you have a cluttered house, you can’t seem to get organized, and you can’t think or make decisions as well as if you had a clean and clear house. Your brain is much the same.
To meditate effectively, pick a place where and a time when you feel most comfortable. Usually morning is best before you even open up your e-mails or do anything. The other great time is after a workout because you have spent this crazy energy and you can now focus better on your breathing.
I like to sit on a cushion or comfortable floor. A great way of keeping your back straight is by placing a small pillow on the lower part of your back between you and the wall. Start off with a simple five minutes a day. Set an alarm if you feel like you are tight on time, but always try to do it when you know you have five minutes to spare. You don’t want to feel rushed or stressed about it. And do make the time for it. Don’t just say “I don’t have time,” because after all, time is what you make of it. In a way, meditation creates more time because now you can do things more practically and with direct focus.
When you meditate, you create space from all the thinking clutter. How can you think if you have a clutter of thoughts?!
3. Tabata Protocol
If you’ve had a hard stressful day and need to let out some steam, I recommend you do a quick Tabata Protocol (high-intensity interval training) of 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off for eight sets, which equals an energizing and fat burning four minutes! In fact, the Tabata Protocol has been researched and tested against one hour of long, endurance cardio, and the Tabata Protocol beats it by burning nine times more fat!! Plus, you get the benefits of bigger, expanded lungs and better heart health.
The Tabata Protocol is typically done with just simple squats going as fast as you can for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds and repeat (eight times).
I like to do it a bit differently to avoid boredom. And you don’t have to use any equipment if you don’t want to. Pick four of the following heart-pumping exercises:
• Running in place
• Punching in place
• High knees
• Pushup walkouts
• Band presses
• Band pulls
• Lateral shuffles
• Plank ups
After you have done four exercises as fast as you can for 20 seconds, rest and then repeat the exercises again, off and on, for a total of four minutes. Doing eight different exercises for a total of four minutes is also acceptable. If you need to, you can rest for about one-to-three minutes and repeat the whole thing again if you have the time!