5 Best Workouts For Both Your Mind and Body
People work out for a variety of reasons. Some do it for weight loss and muscle building; others do it for stress relief and the unbeatable physical and mental health benefits. I personally do it to live a healthy, fulfilling life. I have tried numerous combo moves, but here are the five best workouts that helped me improve my mind and body.
We all know that running ranks among the best ways to get in shape; however, it does way more than that. Running helps improve not just your mood but also almost every part of your body. It increases your overall health, raising your levels of good cholesterol, as well as lung function and use. It also boosts the immune system, all while lowering the risk of developing blood clots. And it is also believed to reduce chances of stroke, breast cancer, and heart attack. But the benefits are not all physical.
Running can boost your confidence and self-esteem. You establish and achieve goals, and you instantly feel empowered and much happier. It can also relieve stress and the many mood and health problems it usually comes with. How? Simple: by exerting excess energy and hormones. And lastly, it can protect you against anxiety and depression. According to some studies, a 30-minute run can help boost not just your mood but also your sleep quality and concentration during the day.
Crossfit is one of the biggest crazes to ever hit the fitness industry. While it’s not for everyone, it’s definitely a great way to keep fit and get some variety especially for those who already have a solid base level of aerobic and strength awareness. Fast-paced and intense, a crossfit workout usually takes about 30 minutes of condensed, nonstop movement, which consists of 3-4 routines that you have to keep doing over and over through the set time.
The physical benefits are excellent and all, but the non-physical ones create just as much, if not more, impact. Camarederie is the very first word that comes to mind. Working out a gym is basically working out with random people focused on doing their own thing; but working out at a crossfit box is working out with a community. You’re surrounded by a group of people with the same goal in mind, encouraging and helping you push your boundaries. Finish last, and you will still get that round of high-fives for pushing yourself as hard as you can!
No longer reserved for just the ring, boxing has become a fitness phenomenon that has taken over the world, providing everyone with a high intensity workout that goes way beyond the hype. As a sport, it requires high levels of athletic prowess: from speed and strength, down to agility, endurance, and hand-eye coordination. As a workout, it helps the average person to develop the same athletic skills but without having to take a punch.
While some people see boxing as blood sport, there’s no denying that boxing is a total body workout. And as such, it helps burn a ridiculous amount of calories. Your heart rate is guaranteed to skyrocket; and multiple muscle groups, engaged. Do it for an hour, and you will burn anywhere from 700-1500 calories depending on boxing weight and style. Throw in a bit of kickboxing in there too, and maybe some cardio movements like burpees and squat jumps, and, I'm telling you, those calories are gone in no time.
Workout fads come and go all the time, but nothing is as enduring as yoga. We all have heard about it: it’s great for burning calories and toning muscles. But—and this is a huge one—it’s a total mind-and-body workout that combines breathing with movement. Sure, you probably won’t be able to backbend or even touch your toes during your first class. But over time, you will improve your flexibility, your mind will be clutter-free, and all those challenging poses will become possible, and your mind will be quieter. And when you achieve all these, you’ll be likely to live longer and healthier.
I myself experience yoga’s healing power in a real beyond real way. Doing both the downward and upward-facing dog, for instance, helps me strengthen my arm bones. Twisting and inverted poses like headstand, handstand, and shoulderstand improve my blood flow. And doing other yoga exercises ups my heart rate, ultimately lowering the risk of heart attack. But the best part of all: it helps relieve depression, thanks to the raised levels of serotonin and lowered levels of monoamine oxidase.
Barre-based fitness classes have sprouted up quickly in the past few years, and this is, without a doubt, influenced by those of us looking to channel our inner Misty Copeland. Combining pilates, yoga, and ballet, barre involves a lot of balancing yourself while contracting your body in small movements for a number of repetitions. Its benefits range from weight loss, muscle definition, and improved posture, to increased flexibility, reduced stress, and inner peace.
Classes often start with a warm-up and a series of upper-body exercises like push-ups, planks, and other movements that target the biceps, triceps, and back muscles. From there, you will use your own body weight with the ballet barre for resistance to concentrate on your inner thigh muscles and strengthen them. Your core will be engaged the entire time, as well as targeted at the end.
Just Start & Keep Going
Whether you're looking to get fit, relieve stress, fine-tune your brain, or boost overall health and happiness, moving your body can help. You don't need to jump right in and start working out for long hours outside or in the gym. You can pick any workout from the list above, start small, and, as you feel more and more comfortable, build your way up! Anything worthwhile is hard work, but it's absolutely worth it.
What inspires you to stay fit? And how do you stay motivated?
Let me know in the comments below.