Five Mood-Boosting Workouts

To feel more content, try Yoga

Yoga practice is associated with increased levels of GABA, an amino acid and neurotransmitter that may help reduce anxiety. Also, slow, deep yogic breathing increases oxygen flow, which leads to optimal functioning of all your organs—including your brain.  A study of the physical effects of yoga on new practitioners found that the parasympathetic nervous system—the part of the nervous system that promotes relaxation—kicked into high gear around three months after starting yoga.

To sleep better, try Pilates
Pilates, developed by fitness pioneer Joseph H. Pilates in the 1920s, is a system of core-strengthening moves done on a mat or an apparatus called a Reformer. Study participants who did Pilates on a mat twice weekly for 75 minutes or three times a week for 50 minutes, for 15 weeks, were less likely to experience troubled sleep.   These sleep improvements may be linked to an increased bodily awareness.

To increase your energy, try Cycling

Researchers found that after a single 30-minute session of stationary cycling, subjects reported a boost in their energy levels. We tend to think of physical activity as being tiring, but in fact physical activity adds energy to our lives. Research shows that any kind of exercise done outdoors may boost energy more than indoor activity does.

To achieve clarity, try Weights

In one study, older adults who did simple, low-intensity weight-training exercises three to five times a week for one month performed significantly better on cognitive tests.   Specifically, the weight-training group improved in executive function, which includes the ability to plan, regulate behavior, and multi-task.
To reduce stress, try Tai Chi
In Tai Chi,  traditionally done in a standing position, you repeatedly shift your weight back and forth, engaging the muscles in both your upper and lower body, as well as employing rhythmic breathing.
Because the shifts are slow and fluid, they relax your muscles and calm your mind while improving your balance, strength, and flexibility.  This “meditation in motion,” as it is sometimes called, is said to stimulate the body’s flow of what the Chinese refer to as Chi (pronounced chee), or life force. Tai Chi’s mellow pace and precise actions focus the mind and serve as a reminder to take things more slowly.

From :  Keep It Simple  magazine    October 2011.

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