5 Workouts To Do When You're Stressed & You Can't Seem To Focus On Anything
From lack of proper shut-eye, to a heavily packed work schedule, to road rage during rush hour, to life just being busy AF in general, some days can leave you feeling like you're a living, breathing ball of stress. And TBH, when you feel that overwhelmed, it can be tempting to cancel that workout you were planning to crush at the end of the day. But this is actually the time when your body and mind need that exercise the most. That's why finding the right workouts to do when you're stressed will be a total game-changer when it comes to relieving tension and anxiety.
When stress comes creeping in, it can present itself in both physical (aka headaches and tense muscles) and mental ways (such as a total inability to focus on your usual tasks and responsibilities). It's a vicious cycle most of us know all too well. You're stressed because you're busy, but you're also too busy to be that stressed out and distracted in the first place.
However, according to the American Psychological Association, exercise has a way of biologically toughening up the brain and increasing focus and energy, so that the impact of stress feels a little lighter on you overall.
With that in mind, here are five workouts you should incorporate into your routine when you're feeling majorly overwhelmed. All those sweat-infused endorphins are about to become your absolute besties in life.
Yoga is an amazing way to relieve stress because it's a workout that engages both the mind and the body, and it helps you focus on the physical poses while simultaneously calming the internal chatter in your brain.
As a yoga teacher, I can confidently tell you that a consistent yoga practice benefits the body, mind, and your ability to breathe mindfully, all of which are key components that you want to have conscious control over when it comes to soothing anxiety.
If you incorporate a little yoga into your routine each day — instead of only doing it when you're stressed out — it'll be a more effective way to manage stress overall and gather focus and balance in the long-term.
2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT workouts are challenging AF, and they're pretty much guaranteed to leave you in a puddle of your own sweat, but like, in a good way.
High-intensity interval training basically pushes your limits to the absolute max, and at the same time, it exhausts all of your nervous and jittery thoughts.
According to a study by researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia, squeezing in a HIIT circuit here and there is even more effective at reducing stress than low-intensity workouts, and doing so may even reduce the kind of anxiety that can lead to heart disease.
Plus, you'll feel strong and focused as hell after you're done.
Whenever I'm in a kickboxing class, I pretend the bag is someone who pissed me off, and let me tell you, it's pretty much the best source of stress relief ever.
According to a study published in the Japan Journal of Physical Education, Health, and Sport Sciences, participants in a kickboxing class showed significant decreases in anxiety, depression, and anger after they were done sweating it out.
Kickboxing is an amazing way to physically channel your frustration and anxiety, and you can totally make each class your personal outlet to release any anger you're holding onto and restore your sense of focus.
Everyone's heard of the infamous "runner's high," right?
Well, those feel-good endorphins that linger after a nice, long run will squash feelings of stress and leave you feeling amazing and rejuvenated for hours after the fact.
However, endorphins are actually produced in response to physical discomfort. So, according to Runner's World, you've got to push yourself a bit to reap those juicy, rewarding results.
5. Lifting Weights
According to Livestrong, hitting the weight room and putting a heavy strain on your muscles can actually produce more endorphins in a faster period of time than cardio.
So, the next time you're feeling stressed AF, you might want to head on over to the squat rack. You'll leave with major #GluteGains and a clear, focused, stress-free mind.