When was the last time you focused on relaxing?
Chronic, everyday stress causes health problems. Managing that stress through intentional relaxation lowers blood pressure, increases blood flow and improves digestion and sleep. It also helps you handle anger and frustration. But relaxing can be difficult for many people.
Beacon Health & Fitness expert Josie Lelito offered three relaxation strategies everyone can do. Josie instructs yoga, Pilates and tai chi fitness classes, and her mind-body approach to fitness can help you relax.
Exercising is one of the best strategies for relaxing. But that looks different for everyone.
“Any exercise that feels good to you is a good place to start,” Josie explains. “Whether that’s taking a walk around your favorite park or a high-intensity class, a strength-training class … anything that releases endorphins and boosts serotine levels is good.”
Engaging in an exercise that you don’t enjoy won’t help you relax. So make sure to find an exercise style that suits you.
“In intentional relaxation, in the mind-body realm of exercise – that would be yoga, tai chi and Pilates,” said Josie. “This would be a great place to start in if you’re wanting to focus or hone in on relaxation specifically.”
Unplugging is intentionally disconnecting from your electronic devices and social media channels for a set amount of time. It’s a great way to relax but can be challenging to do.
Josie unplugs by removing her smartwatch, turning off the TV, leaving her phone in a different room and focusing on the moment.
“Make a date with yourself. Schedule that time-out, and make sure it’s on your calendar,” Josie suggested. “Start off with a few minutes, then work your way to 15 minutes every day.”
The time of day you unplug is also impactful. “You can do that first thing in the morning to get yourself set up for the day, or right before you go to bed so that you can get a good night’s sleep.”
Great activities when you’re unplugged include:
- Offline hobbies you enjoy
Breathing exercises are intentional breathing patterns that help you relax. They increase blood oxygen levels, lower heart rate and blood pressure and create a calming effect. They also come in many forms.
Josie explained that yoga naturally incorporates breathing exercises, with deep breaths used to count through yoga poses. There are also mobile and desktop apps that guide you through breathing exercises with spoken instructions and visual aids.
“You can incorporate breathing exercises in meditation, too!”
For more support
Relaxing can be a challenge but is worth the effort. Making time to exercise, unplug or breathe is your first step toward relaxing.
For extra support, Beacon Health & Fitness provides more than 170 fitness classes, massage therapy, wellness coaching and more. Find what you need to make relaxing easier.