By Alena Hall
If you’re in the process of talking yourself out of another sweat session, stop right there.
It’s likely that the problem lies not with your general hatred of exercise, but rather the particular workout you’ve selected. You wouldn’t head off to a club on a Saturday night if what you really felt like doing was settling in with a good book and a glass of wine, right? The same logic follows for exercise. Pairing your activity with your current mood can be one of the best ways to motivate yourself to stick to a weekly fitness routine, and you’ll genuinely enjoy reaping the benefits instead of wishing you were someplace else.
Ready to harness the power of both good and bad vibes with your workout? Check out the best fitness matches for your current mood below.
This high-intensity cardio class is perfectly designed for blowing off some steam! Process the emotions of a rough day as you punch, jab and high kick your way through the killer workout. You’ll break a serious sweat, leave all your anger on the gym studio floor, and walk away with a big boost of endorphins to boot. Just remember: It’s okay to channel that inner fire into your workout effort, but be sure to listen to your body when it says “stop.” It’s surprisingly easy and common to injure yourself when you push too hard in workouts fueled by strong, negative emotions.
One of the best times to try and train the mind is when it’s preoccupied with stress, anxiety and worry. Use your workout to soothe your body mentally, physically and emotionally before calling it a day, and take to that yoga mat. This mindful exercise helps the body let go of stress and calm down for a quality night’s rest. Try these poses to work wonders on your stress levels as you focus on breathing deeply and evenly, realigning with your personal center.
Harness that positive energy and take to your favorite jogging route! You just might find that your optimistic attitude adds a little pep to your step, making jogging feel even more enjoyable — or at least tolerable, for those who aren’t into pounding the pavement. Running has been shown to boost brain performance, protect your heart, and pretty much guarantee a good night’s sleep. Combining that happy mood with an adrenaline rush and feel-good endorphins sets you up for a really great day.
Channel your inner adventurer, grab that backpack and hit a new trail for a workout that challenges both your body and curious mind. Hiking takes your body back to its roots by working the smaller stabilizer muscles that are left out of more common, less dynamic workouts. And just getting the chance to reunite with nature can boast big benefits. Hikers tend to be more creative, happier and more mindful. So be one with the Earth and go explore!
Immerse yourself in a pool of calming blue water and let your mood float away as you move through your favorite stroke. Swimming allows you the opportunity to work out in your own space, both mentally and physically, as you move at your own pace and feel your own rhythm. Swimming is a fantastic form of low-impact cardio exercise, getting your heart rate up while being kind to your joints. The rushing water feels refreshing and soothing at the same time, and some even find that a good session in the pool can alleviate symptoms of depression.
Hop on that saddle and ride wherever your body feels like taking you! Bounding energy isn’t required to reap the benefits of aerobic activity, sightseeing and fresh air that come along with these two wheels. Plus, cyclists also tend to be fit and self-sufficient, and enjoy longer lives than their non-pedaling counterparts. So go climb hills, coast along a waterway, or pedal through town just for the fun of it.
Use that extra motivation to challenge yourself with a boot camp class incorporating intervals, group work and maybe even a few new tools — that’s right, grab those kettlebells! Classes that utilize high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and circuits not only help improve cardiovascular fitness, but also build muscle strength and create a metabolic afterburn effect that can be noticed long after you’ve hit the showers. And oftentimes, people keep coming back for that sense of camaraderie they feel with their classmates as they all push through that last set of burpees together. It’s the perfect place to share your positive energy!
No matter how you’re feeling, there is always a way to make that sense of self-awareness work for you rather than against you. The next time the thought of your exercise routine makes you want to cower underneath your sheets instead of throwing on your favorite fitness outfit and moving, consider your mood and then match it to the right workout for you at that current moment. It’s worth a try, right?
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