Over the last few months, you’ve no doubt found yourself searching for some sort of magic solution that will instantly eliminate all of your stress. While a stress-relieving spell or potion has yet to be discovered, one of the easiest ways to banish anxiety and boost mood during the warm summer months is to head outside into the sunshine. You’ll get a much needed dose of vitamin D, which will deliver benefits from strong and healthy bones to improved exercise performance and muscle strength to an efficient and powerful immune system. And depending on the activity, there are countless ways that being outdoors can help get rid of your stress. Read on for four of our favorites.
In addition to the physical perks of going for a hike, hiking can go far towards lowering your stress levels. Simply being surrounded by nature’s greenery has been shown to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, while the tranquility and beauty of an impressive vista will help you forget your worries and to-dos. Hiking also requires the engagement of all the senses, helping you unplug from your responsibilities and be present in the moment, a practice that will promote calm and feelings of zen.
While not as active as some other options, setting up a picnic in a local park with friends or loved ones can do wonders for your mental health. Studies have shown that people have higher levels of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin on sunny days than they do on cloudy ones, while others have identified a relationship between UV light and the release of feel-good endorphins. When you’re on a picnic, you’re getting these perks while spending quality time with people you enjoy, which will also help banish your stress quickly.
Outdoor Group Fitness
Taking your go-to group fitness class outside is a no brainer. You’ll reap all the benefits of regular exercise, including improved cardiovascular health, stronger muscles and more self-confidence, plus you’ll get to enjoy them in the fresh air and sunshine. Another of these benefits: Improved moods and freedom from stress. In fact, studies have shown that exercise can be as effective, if not more effective, than medication for treating depression. Plus, it can help lower levels of stress and anxiety by relaxing and releasing any physical tension you are holding in your body and prompting the release of mood-boosting brain chemicals. And if you live in a Power For Life Fitness property, you may be able to reap these benefits for free right now! Ask your property manager if your building is offering outdoor group fitness classes today.
Maybe you don’t have hiking trails or a park near your apartment and you don’t have access to outdoor group fitness classes. Don’t worry! Simply heading outside for a walk, even if it’s through your busy downtown neighborhood, will deliver many of the benefits mentioned above. Regardless of your fitness level, walking will help you strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your flexibility and coordination, and reduce chronic pain. It will also help prevent or manage conditions like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. And of course, it will offer a health-promoting respite from your busy day, serving as a powerful stress reliever.
Perhaps you’re a diehard yogi and can hold a tree pose for hours. Or you’re a boot camp pro and laugh in the face of burpees. Or maybe you can salsa circles around your neighbors in Zumba class. If one of these sounds like you, congrats! It sounds like you’ve found an exercise regimen you love and you’re sticking to it, which is admirable. Even so—and no matter how much you love your child’s pose or jumping lunges—there are benefits to mixing in a different exercise format or class every once in a while. Here are three.
Prevent a Plateau
The more you practice a particular exercise format, the better you will get at it. Why do you get better at it? Because your muscles are getting used to the movements, improving their ability to complete them efficiently. Adapting to the movements takes work, and your muscles are going to be toning and strengthening as they do so. But eventually, after doing the same exercises over and over again, they will become too easy for your body to complete and you’ll hit a plateau, at which point you will stop seeing results. The simple solution: Try a new workout! Even doing one or two yoga classes and then going back to Zumba will challenge your muscles in a new and different way, instantly restarting your gains.
Avoid Burnout and Boredom
You’re most likely to hit a plateau if you’re so in love with one exercise style that you never try anything else. On the other hand, only going to boot camp classes can breed boredom that has you dreading and maybe even skipping your workout. It can also lead to fatigue and burnout, which can increase your likelihood of injury. Switching up your routine can help you avoid both of these issues, promoting balance and all-over strength plus keeping you excited to head to the gym.
Keep Your Mind Fit
Exercise isn’t just about physical fitness. Mental health is equally as important and mixing up your fitness routine can help you keep your mind fit. The reason: Just as you can hit a physical plateau and stop seeing results, the same thing can happen with your mind as exercises become easier to do well and max reps grow less difficult to achieve. But mastering the merengue is going to be both physically and mentally challenging if all you’ve been doing are push ups and squats. Switching up your workouts every once in a while will provide a challenge that will keep your mind sharp, increasing your brainpower and self-confidence.
Is it time for you to switch up your fitness routine? Power For Life Fitness’s livestream and on-site programs offer a wide variety of classes, from yoga and Zumba to boot camp and Pilates. Ask your property manager how you can access these classes and start seeing results today!
Apartments, by nature, are small. It can be difficult to carve out spaces, for work, for play, for relaxation, and it can be even more difficult to carve out personal spaces that aren’t shared with roommates or family members. However, it is crucial to your mental and emotional health to create spaces in your home that will promote calm, comfort and contentment. Here are three things you can do to create your very own personal sanctuary.
Find Natural Light
Natural light can be difficult to come by in apartments, especially considering that most only have windows on one side and those windows may be facing a direction that only yields light for half the day. Even so, exposure to the sun’s rays can have a powerful effect on mood. Studies show that just 15 minutes of sunlight exposure daily can reduce feelings of depression by 18% and increase levels of mood-boosting endorphins by 50%. If you’re able to in your apartment, place a chair or a mat near a window so that you can enjoy your morning coffee, read a book or catch up on emails in the sunlight. And don’t skip it on cloudy days—the sunlight through the clouds is still strong enough to produce benefits.
Fill It with Plants
Not only are they lovely to look at, but plants also absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, making the air healthier for you to breathe. Many species of houseplants actively remove toxins from the air as well, yielding perks like improved concentration and better mood. If there’s an area in your apartment where you like to spend time or where you need to be productive—perhaps your chair by the window or the place where you’ve been working from home—place a plant or two there. Your mood and your space will be instantly brighter.
Decorate with Bright Colors
Color has been shown to have a profound impact on mood: The duller the colors around you, the drearier you feel. Meanwhile, bright colors like yellow, pink and red can brighten your mood almost instantly. Toss a yellow quilt or throw over the back of your chair near the window or house your plant in a green or pink pot. Fill your space with colors that make you feel happy, awake and inspired, not those that make you feel sleepy or bored.
Do you have a personal sanctuary in your apartment? If so, snap a photo of your space and post it to your Instagram or Facebook story, but be sure to tag us for a chance to win a prize! The giveaway will end on Friday, 7/17/20.
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