In case you haven’t heard, everybody is obsessed with self-care. And actually, there’s pretty good reason to be. According to Stress.org, 44 percent of Americans report feeling more stressed now than they did five years ago, and 1 in 5 Americans suffer from “extreme stress.”
It’s really no surprise that this is happening. Digital advances keep us more connected to work than ever before, and simultaneously, more and more of us spend our days sitting in offices. Unfortunately, this combination can be lethal (just Google “is sitting the new smoking?” and you’ll see what I mean).
One of the best ways to practice self-care is to get relaxing exercise. Also known as active recovery, these kinds of exercises are gentle enough to encourage slow breathing and mindfulness, yet they still do the job of getting your blood circulating and your heart rate slightly elevated. Give these five low-intensity exercises a try for 20 minutes a day and see if you don’t feel a little less stressed.
One of the latest active recovery trends to sweep the nation, foam rolling has some pretty surprising benefits. By rolling your muscles over a foam cylinder, you’re essentially giving them a massage. This physical sensation can not only relax you, it can stimulate your lymphatic system and help enhance the health of your fascia, the fibrous tissue connecting your muscles and organs.
Are you familiar with the concept of yin and yang? It essentially represents balance. While traditional yoga styles like Ashtanga or vinyasa yoga can really work up a sweat, yin yoga is all about relaxing. This style of yoga has participants rest in poses for two to three minutes or more, all while encouraging closed eyes and breathing deeply. The result is a deeply relaxing experience.
Tai chi has been around for a long time, and there’s a reason so many people—particularly seniors—swear by it. Tai chi allows for slow and controlled bodily movement, resulting in a clear head and strong body.
The least trendy item on our list, good old-fashioned walking, is not to be overlooked! When you feel stressed, take a gentle stroll around your neighborhood. To enhance the mind-body benefits of walking, do your best to pay attention to your surroundings and practice mindfulness.
Light Weight Lifting
Weight lifting should be an absolute must on your to-do list. Especially if you’re over 50. As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass, making it imperative to build strength as often as possible. Simply sitting comfortably in your living room lifting light weights can help stimulate blood flow, build muscle mass and keep you feeling health and balanced.