Living in a fast-paced, urban city, stress is practically programmed into our everyday lives. While a little stress is a good way to keep us motivated and help us accomplish our goals, too much of it can leave us feeling like a wound-up bundle of nerves. Learning to manage our stress and knowing how to relieve tension when life gets overwhelming is key to a healthy, balanced life.

How exercise reduces stress and anxiety is no trade secret, but finding the proper workout for your needs and personal fitness goals can be a challenge. If you are looking to cultivate some zen in your life or want to restore your sense of well-being, here are some of the best exercises for stress relief to try out! 

#1 Yoga

Yoga is a panacea for treating a plethora of physical and mental ailments, and its effectiveness for stress relief is particularly well-documented. It’s not hard to see why - yoga is a mind-body exercise that offers an all-encompassing remedy to stress release. Stretching and contorting your body into different asanas helps release physical tension while deep, controlled breathing and mindful meditation provide mental relief and encourage you to redirect your focus to the present moment. When your mind is laser-focused on your body’s movements, your brain will naturally declutter itself from outside stresses and strains.

#2 Boxing

Got a lot of pent-up stress and negative emotion? Taking it out on a punching bag might be just what the doctor ordered. Boxing is a full-body workout that involves cardio, strength, as well as balance and coordination. Providing a physical outlet for you to blow off steam, work through emotional frustration, and drain negative energy, it’s no wonder that boxing is regarded as one of the best stress management exercises. Not to mention, those high-intensity hits and kicks also stimulate the production of endorphins in the body, contributing to a positive mood.

#3 Running or Jogging

The elusive “runner’s high” that has long been touted by athletes is not just a myth. After a long, continuous bout of aerobic exercise, the body settles into a temporary state of euphoria and exhilaration, making you feel deeply relaxed and mentally calm. But you don’t necessarily have to rack up the miles of a pro athlete to reap the stress-fighting benefits of running. Even just a short jogging session can do wonders for releasing stress and lowering anxiety levels. Running outdoors can be an especially zen-inducing exercise, the change of scenery conducive to taking your mind off of the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.

#4 Dancing

Bust out your best moves while also busting worries and negativity! Dancing is a fun and rewarding workout that can double as a powerful antidote for stress. Combining a cathartic sequence of rhythmic movements with your favourite music on blast, it’s easy to let the stress melt right off your shoulders and forget that you’re working out altogether. Adding to the effects of exercise-induced happy hormones, dancing is a highly social activity that fosters connections with others and cultivates a sense of well-being. This in turn helps you build a stronger stress management mechanism and support network when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

#5 Tai Chi

Rooted in ancient Chinese martial arts, Tai Chi is a form of low-impact exercise that aims to harmonise the body, mind, and spirit through a series of graceful, flowing movements. Its emphasis on controlled breathing and continuous motion improves physical balance and coordination, as well as offers conditioning effects on the mind to release stress and enhance focus and mental clarity. Best of all, the slow, gentle movements make Tai Chi a highly inclusive exercise that people of all ages and skill levels can practise! 

Optimise Your Stress-Relieving Workouts with High-Quality Activewear

You might think that fashion is not a top priority when you’re knocking out a sweat session, but in actuality, donning the right workout attire is crucial in helping you maximise the effectiveness of your workouts. Nothing is worse than when your outfit gets in the way of you holding a yoga pose, or if your clothes leave you feeling sticky and soaked after a run. The last thing you want is to have to worry about your outfit when you are exercising for stress relief and wearing the right workout clothing means that you can focus your energy on what’s most important.

HAKA Active is a Hong Kong-based women’s activewear brand that provides high-quality and breathable workout apparel that will keep you comfortable and allow you to perform your best in all your workouts. From flexible yoga wear that will carry you through the most challenging poses to stylish women’s crop tops and tanks, HAKA Active’s full range of women’s activewear has all your workout clothing needs in one place. Explore now!