Relax and reboot: round out your workout with relaxation

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After a long day at the office, a tough workout at the gym or a stressful assignment at university, completing a relaxation exercise can help to alleviate some of the pressures (both mentally and physically) of the day.

According to Edith Cowan University, giving your mind and body a chance to stop and reboot can do wonders for your health, with benefits including:

  • Lowered heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels
  • Improved sleep
  • A strengthened immune system
  • Improved capacity to think clearly, focus and sustain attention
  • Better stress management
  • Regulated emotions
  • Increased awareness

Just like choosing the right cardio exercise, different relaxation techniques work better for different people and Beyond Blue have shared some of their favourites online. Depending on your mood, time available and your location you may like to try deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, creative visualisation, meditation, mandala circles or yoga which are all proven to help you feel calm.

Following your next workout, try adding on a relaxation activity such as this progressive muscle relaxation exercise:

  1. Sit or lie comfortably in a quiet space where you will be uninterrupted
  2. Close your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths
  3. One by one, slowly tense each muscle in your beginning with your right hand. Feel the tension as you squeeze and hold this position for a few seconds before releasing the tension slowly. Repeat this exercise with your:
    • arms (tensing both arms)
    • shoulders (lifting shoulders)
    • toes (curling toes)
    • feet (pulling toes up to your face, and then pointing toes away from your face)
    • legs (clenching your thighs and then clenching your buttocks)
    • eyebrows (raising your eyebrows)
    • forehead (scrunching your whole face)
    • eyes (close your eyelids tightly) and finally;
    • jaw (open your mouth widely).

That wraps up our five-part series on exercise, we hope you have found this information helpful and look forward to sharing more health and wellness tips with you again soon.