Exercise is one of the best things you can do ease anxiety and stress, but sometimes working out can be tough on both the body and the mind. Many people find going to the gym the easiest and most convenient way of getting a fitness fix. However, trying to stay calm and focused during an intense routine may prove difficult even in the nicest of surroundings. Here are our top 5 tips for staying relaxed during a workout.
You hear it time and time again, but stretching before and after exercise is really one of the best things you can do to get the most out of your programme. Not only can stretching increase your flexibility, but it can also help reduce muscle tension and make your whole body feel more relaxed. Before you get stretching, try and carry out 10 minutes of light activity like a brisk walk in order to warm your body up. There is a multitude of stretching exercises on the internet which you can follow, but the basics remain the same. Never bounce whilst stretching, and hold each stretch for around 30 seconds. If it starts to hurt then you may have stretched too far!
2) Listen to music
Many people find listening to music a great way to remain relaxed during a workout. Some gyms will allow you to plug your headphones into the equipment to listen to the radio, perfect for those who like variety to their fitness regime. For more control over the music, you could make a playlist of your own songs that you know will keep you relaxed. Perhaps vary the genre of music depending on what type of activity you are doing. On the running machine you could listen to something upbeat and motivating, whilst spending time on the yoga mats might suit a more tranquil vibe. It doesn’t matter what you listen to, as long as it has the desired effect on your mind and your body.
3) Keep breathing
It is said by many personal trainers that people tend to hold their breath when they exercise, particularly beginners. And if you aren’t holding your breath there are a number of other easy traps to fall into, like breathing too slowly or too quickly or inhaling and exhaling at the wrong times. If you do not learn to breathe correctly whilst working out, you are putting unnecessary strain on your body which will make you feel uncomfortable and not exercise to the best of your ability. To feel more relaxed whilst at the gym, speak to an expert to find out the correct way to breathe. Not only will your fitness improve but you will also be calmer as a result.
4) Stay hydrated
Another key way to help your body stay relaxed at the gym is to keep your fluid intake up. Did you know that you can lose up to a litre of fluid every hour when exercising? Not only will dehydration affect your workout and make you feel tense, but it can also cause serious damage to your health- so make sure you keep drinking. With all the sports drinks on the market you may be forgiven for thinking you need to fork out on an expensive beverage, but most people doing moderate exercise will be fine with just water. All gyms will have water available for you to fill up your bottles with, and some may even have cool water dispensers. And be careful, too much fluid and you can put yourself at risk of a rare condition called hypnoatremia.
5) Use and abuse the facilities
One of the main reasons people like going to the gym to exercise is because of all the extra facilities that can be on offer such as swimming pools, showers, saunas, washroom supplies and other little luxuries. If you are lucky enough to have these at your gym, make sure you take full advantage of them. Motivating yourself to do a workout will seem a lot more appealing if you know you can relax afterward, so set aside a little extra time to wind down after your session.
Chloe writes on health and fitness for PHS Washrooms, a company providing washroom supplies and hand dryers to businesses. In her spare time, she enjoys running and salsa dancing.
Photo Credit: CherryPoint (CC BY 2.0)