Sometimes there’s nothing like a little exercise to relieve the stress of life as the holidays approach. Whether it’s managing a Thanksgiving feast, Christmas party, or anything in between, these events only add to the pressure that you may normally experience in the workplace. Worse, once they’re over you may find yourself feeling more like a stuffed turkey than someone who’s been celebrating after feeling the impact of those super-rich foods.
While it may sound like a hassle, exercise could help to break up the holiday blues and/or the tense weeks leading up to good times. Plus, they can help you burn off those heavy calories and make you feel much better about yourself. Read the following article from the Lifecenter Blog to learn more about workouts for a healthier mind and body!
Mind Body: Stress Relieving Workouts for the Holidays
As the holidays approach, the inevitable rise in blood pressure and stress level creeps up and can often leave us feeling overwhelmed and downright exhausted. Our natural inclination is to cut back on our workouts – doing so gives us one more precious hour in the day to get things done. Skipping the workout will leave us less tired too, right?
In fact, skipping our workout is the very last thing we should do when we’re feeling frazzled and fatigued. Continuing our workouts relieves stress, keeps us strong and healthy and gives us more energy to get those holiday chores done.
So, what classes should we focus on during these hectic holiday months? Programs that incorporate the mind and the body (or “mind body” classes as we call them) are a perfect choice. Sometimes the quietest exercises can be the most rejuvenating, and during the holidays, the extra focus on your mental, and well as your physical well-being, can be just what you need to gracefully and energetically make it through to the New Year!
What are Mind Body Classes?
Mind Body classes come in many varieties, the most basic being: Yoga, Pilates and T’ai Chi. From these basic programs, a host of mixed-discipline programs have been born. One in particular, a Les Mills International program called BODYFLOW™, has taken off in clubs all over the world. Let’s take a quick look at each.
Yoga is a system of movements (called postures) and breathing techniques designed to promote harmony among body, mind and spirit. Yoga is a good way to promote relaxation and to relieve stress and anxiety.
Created in the 1920’s by Joseph Pilates, this method of exercise is designed to tone and strengthen muscles, while increasing flexibility. By performing the Pilates method of strength training participants attain total body strength without creating bulk. Pilates incorporates the mind and body through controlled and focused movements.
Some experts have called T’ai Chi the “perfect exercise”. Via calm and graceful movements, T’ai Chi improves strength, agility and balance, while relieving mental stress. It’s great for all ages – especially older adults.
BODYFLOW is the yoga, t’ai chi and Pilates workout that leaves you feeling long, strong, centered and calm. Moving from one discipline to the next circulates energy throughout the body so that you’re refreshed by the end. The nature of the program makes it easy for all participants to achieve success.
The Benefits of Mind Body Classes
As you can see, there are common elements to Mind Body programs like the focus on core strength and on the relationship between the mind and the body. All of these programs provide the opportunity to learn a variety of techniques to reduce stress, relax and improve fitness. Learning to influence the connection between your mind and your body can also help improve medical conditions such as chronic pain, high blood pressure or insomnia, while at the same time improving your emotional state.
And, since a basic principle of all mind body programs is that you should not attempt to go beyond your own physical limits, they can be practiced by people of all ages and physical conditions.
Let’s take a more in depth look at some of the main benefits of Mind Body programs:
Improved joint flexibility and range of movement
Flexibility is a joint’s ability to move through a full range of motion. Flexibility training (stretching) helps balance muscle groups that might be overused during exercise or physical activity or as a result of bad posture. The benefits that result from a good flexibility program include:
- Improved Physical Performance and Decreased Risk of Injury
- Reduced Muscle Soreness and Improved Posture
- Reduced Risk of Low Back Pain
- Increased Blood and Nutrients to Tissues
- Improved Muscle Coordination
- Enhanced Enjoyment of Physical Activities
As we age, our balance skills naturally deteriorate. And with deteriorating balance often comes falls and injuries. For this reason it is important to do exercises to improve and maintain balance throughout our lives. Improving your balance takes practice, and mind body programs are a perfect outlet for this practice.
Improved core strength and muscle toning
If you’re following the trends in exercise and fitness, you’ve probably heard the phrase “core strength.” Core strength refers to the muscles of your abs, torso and lower back and their ability to support your spine and keep your body stable and balanced. People often underestimate how important core strengthening is. Having strong core muscles is very important as weak core muscles make one more susceptible to poor posture, back pain, and injuries during activity. Mind Body programs aim not only to sculpt your midsection; they help build a high-performance core.
Stress management & relaxation training
We all have a built-in stress response that functions to protect us from potential danger. This response causes physical changes such as increased heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension. And, we know that stress can contribute to a variety of medical conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, migraine headaches and many more.
You can’t completely eliminate stress from your life, but you can certainly learn to manage your stress in a way that leaves you less vulnerable to its negative effects. Using mental and physical strategies that decrease anxiety and promote relaxation and “quieting” of both the body and the mind, Mind Body programs help train our bodies to better handle stress.
What are you waiting for?
There is no better time than today to start proactively combating the stress and anxiety that is sure to come with the holiday season. Don’t let the holidays beat you down. Instead, come join us at Lifestyle Family Fitness for one of our Mind Body classes. We promise to leave you rejuvenated, more relaxed and ready to face the next few months with energy and strength!