What are the best exercises to alleviate stress?

Written by Nigel Simpkins

Stress is something that we all have to deal with to some extent in daily life. The problem is that too much stress can make you feel miserable and can also have health implications on your body due to stress hormones being released. This makes it important to find ways of not only dealing with your stress but also reducing it.

Whether it is the worry over getting an assignment in on time or the pressure of budgeting your finances, there can be many things that cause it. Many people, for example, can feel stress around their weight and look for help with this. Luckily, diets such as the are around now to make dealing with this much easier.

But what if you are just looking for ways to reduce the general stress you feel in your life? Exercise can often be a great help here – but which are the best exercises to help you get into a more relaxed state of mind?


One great exercise choice for stress relief is the ancient Indian art of yoga. This sees you hold various postures for extended period of times while breathing deeply. The combination of the deep, relaxed breaths and gentle exercise is ideal for unwinding. Popular yoga poses you may have heard of include the Downward Dog, the Warrior and the Camel. Its soothing nature means that yoga is a great exercise for your mind and body. The good news is that there are lots of different styles to try, and it does not have to cost much to get going. If you cannot afford classes, just search for some popular poses online and get started in your own room.

Tai chi

In some ways, this is like the Chinese version of yoga, but it looks a lot different. Like yoga though, tai chi is all about deep, relaxed breathing and forging a mind-body connection. Tai chi movements are slow and graceful, which also helps your body to release tension. Practitioners usually work through sets of movements called forms and stay fully mindful of how their body feels at all times. All this together is superb for helping you destress after a busy day and remove any built-up physical or mental tension. Even better, the basics of tai chi are not hard to grasp.

High-energy exercises

While slow, gentle forms of exercise such as tai chi are really good for chilling out, high-energy activity can sometimes have just as calming an effect. This is because getting your heart rate going prompts your body to release feel-good endorphins into your system. These endorphins help to make you feel great and much happier about life. From boxing to aerobics or a step class, finding a high-energy activity to enjoy can really help you unwind and get rid of the day’s annoyances.


If you want a happy medium between slower exercises such as yoga and more hectic ones such as kickboxing, why not simply head out for a walk? This is not only totally free but can also be done anywhere and at any time. Pounding the pavement also gets you out into the fresh air, which is great for making you feel better. If you are lucky enough to live close to a park or the countryside, you can also take a gentle stroll with nature to get more from your walk. This is an ideal option for people who maybe don’t fancy getting into hardcore exercise but still want a way to chill out when it all gets too much.

Team sports

Whether it is football, rugby or cricket, team sports are ideal for reducing stress levels. The funny thing is that the sport you play does not really matter! The benefit that this type of exercise provides is all about meeting up with friends, interacting with others and having a laugh. By the time you have done this and finished your game, you will have forgotten all about what was bringing you down! Compared to fretting about your issues alone, this type of social exercise is much better. Of course, you do not have to join an official team to do this. Simply rounding up a few mates for a kickabout will also bring the same benefits.

Finding ways to chill is wise

Modern life can be very stressful at times, which is why finding ways to unwind is key. While there are other things you could do, exercise is certainly great for helping you relax more. As the above shows, there are some great exercises you could try out in order to live a calmer life. This will not only make you feel more in control but will also help to reduce the damaging effects that too much stress can have.