A new year is just around the corner, bringing along with itself not just new hopes and dreams, but also new stress and an ever-increasing workload. So the question is, how does one not only handle this stress but also overcome it effectively? Well, we’ve got an answer for you: exercise! Our best workout ideas will provide you with the impetus that you need to escape that 2018 burnout.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s an established fact that physical exercise, apart from keeping one’s body fit, also stimulates the brain to release chemicals called endorphins, which make one feel elevated and happy. ‘Runner’s high’ is an example of this, and the end effect is that it alleviates all stress and anxiety from one’s mind.
Here’s a round-up of 7 best workout ideas to get fitter and stronger in 2018.
Dancing has always been a fun endeavor, that helps you stay healthy in an exciting way. Zumba keeps you hooked on to your workout session by combining various dance forms, such as salsa, mambo, hip-hop, and samba, with aerobic exercises.
How: You can either enroll yourself in various Zumba classes and programmes, or you can go the DIY way at home by watching instruction videos on YouTube. Both involve a LOT of dancing. Depending on the preference for different styles and pace of the dance routines, every person can get the most they can get out of this regimen.
Why: Zumba is a high-intensity workout that helps you burn calories, while at the same time increasing your blood flow to different parts of the body. This leads to increased endorphin production in the brain, which de-stresses the individual after each routine. A combo of entertainment and exercise makes this one of the best workout ideas to beat work pressures.
If an energetic, free-flowing style is not for you, then how about a more focused, controlled regimen? If the answer is yes, then you’ll surely enjoy Pilates.
How: Pilates involves numerous postures and movements that all focus on toning one’s muscles, with particular emphasis on the torso. These include curls, roll-ups, stretches, crunches, planks and push-ups, all concentrating on order and flow.
Why: The controlled yet flexible nature of the exercises helps in centering one’s mind with the body, and over a period of time, will contribute to soothing stress and pain. It is also good for the lower back and helps maintain the right posture. Of all the best workout ideas, this is the least physically strenuous and is meant more for toning rather than sweating.
Kickboxing, as the name suggests, is a martial art, and is used not only for self-defense but also as a workout. It was initially developed from more mainstream techniques like Karate and has now become a major sporting event in many countries.
How: The technique involves various hand and foot movements, both as offense and defense. So, punches, jabs, cuts, hooks, crosses, and fists make up the upper body moves, and various kicking styles make up the lower body moves. Additionally, knees and elbows can also be used.
Why: The intense physical nature of the sport ensures a good cardio while enabling a focused mind. If you’ve always wanted to learn a martial art and stay fit at the same time, then this one of the best workout ideas for you.
Yoga is one of the most ‘clutter-free’ exercise regimens out there. All you need is a mat, some comfortable clothes, and a peaceful place to get your postures out.
How: Any posture can be yoga if your mind is open enough! So start off by saluting the sun (Surya namaskar), get into some breathing exercises, and then you’re well on your way to learning various asanas. Begin with the simple asanas, and then practice the more flexible moves.
Why: Yoga improves the body, mind, and soul, and works on the principle of aligning and harnessing one’s inner energies. The calming effect that various yoga postures have on the body and the mind is well documented, and if you want to defeat stress, but have only minimal time or resources, then this one of the best workout ideas for you.
5. Tai chi
Tai chi, like yoga, focuses on aligning one’s mind with their body. It is also a martial art form but is performed in extremely sedate and serenading movements.
How: Tai chi initially begins with controlled breathing, followed by relaxing all the muscles of the body. It is important to ‘root’ oneself, that is, have a strong foundation so that one does not fall off balance. It is also necessary to understand the concept of yin and yang, and how these energies flow through the body.
Why: Relaxed muscles means a relaxed body, which in turn, means a relaxed mind. Concentrating on one’s movements and breathing while doing Tai chi will whisk away one’s mind from all the stress and clutter, both personal and work-related. So, this is an effective stress-buster, in addition to being a great self-defense technique.
If being at the peak of your own physical fitness is what you desire, then look no further than CrossFit. Combining various techniques such as powerlifting, calisthenics and high-intensity interval training, this is one of the best workout ideas if you want to reach maximum physical competence as an individual. With higher intensity, comes a higher risk of injuries though, so make sure you exercise under a trained supervisor.
How: It is basically a strength training and conditioning programme that stretches one’s muscles to the maximum, mainly through weightlifting, aerobic exercise like indoor rowing, and other intense regimens, all equally challenging and strenuous.
Why: Being a challenging and intense workout regimen, it not only improves physique and strength, but it also helps the brain synthesize and release more endorphins. So, even if you do feel tired after a CrossFit workout, you will never feel the stress and anxiety that had weighed you down before that.
7. House Cleaning
There’s a reason why our parents forced us to do household chores during our hormone-ridden teen years. Household chores not just keep the house healthy and positive, but also double up as a great exercising routine with all the bending, lifting, stretching and walking.
How: If you need someone to tell you how to clean your home, then I sure pity your houseguests! Mopping floors, shoveling snow, raking leaves, sweeping, washing clothes; all these are considered to be ‘low maintenance’ workout regimes. So, the next time there’s a chore to be done, don’t be reluctant and reach out for it happily.
Why: The main reason to do housecleaning, of course, is because you have to clean your house, sooner rather than later. The other reason is that the muscular activity keeps your body fit, and having one chore less to do is one less stressful thing to worry about, making this the easiest of all the best workout ideas we’ve seen so far.
The next time you find yourself mulling over work and personal problems, and finding it difficult to refocus your energies, just drop what you’re doing, and head on over to the nearest gym. Or you can exercise right in the comfort of your homes. There’s nothing nor no one stopping you from indulging in some of our best workout ideas for you. Keeping yourself fit and healthy, and clearing your mind off all the stress and troubles of the day, is obviously a win-win situation for all. So why not put your New Year’s resolution to good use, and get yourselves a gym subscription ASAP!