Dear readers this post is created by Kaitlin Gardner from AnApplePerDay.com. Visit her site for inspiration on eco-friendly and healthy living. Enjoy! Love /Klara
My friend Jenny came over the other day to visit, and she was so stressed I could not believe it. She had been running around picking out furniture for their new rec room, and had gotten herself into a frenzy. I told her to go home, get on her swim suit, and meet me at our gym. I was going to show her how to let go of some stress.
The calming effect of water. When I have a busy day and have to unwind, the first thing I do is go out to our back yard pool. Even a few minutes of walking up and down in the water can start me on the road to relaxation. I think it has to do with the soothing feeling of just being in the water. If walking doesn’t unwind me enough, I go to the deep end and tread water for a few minutes. The muscles unwind quickly, plus I feel the lightness of the water supporting me. Here are some great ideas about water workouts for stress relief:
A great cardio unwind. If I have had a really bad day, sometimes I am in the mood for a bit more vigorous unwind session. Have you ever tried Zumba? I dare you to try that sexy crazy dance class and feel stressed after you leave. If you’re not in the mood for daring, but you want a great cardio workout, aqua kick boxing can take care of that – the perky little instructors are almost daring me to try to keep up, and of course I do – try. I can never work as fast as they can, but when I leave class, my thought is “Now what was I stressing about?”
Image borrowed from http://www.mountainviewhospital.org/
A super calming workout. I sensed that today Jenny didn’t need an energetic workout, but would benefit from some straight calm down. She met me at the gym, and we signed up for an aqua tai chi class. Jenny had never done aqua aerobics, or tai chi, so the whole thing was going to be a new experience for her. Tai chi is an ancient Chinese art which uses a series of slow, almost dance moves to relax, balance and focus. It’s actually based on a martial art, but a lot of people just use it now for a calming experience. In the water – it’s a wonderful workout, as you push through the water, moving arms and legs together in concert to step around the pool.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. I know how Jenny is – she’s a perfectionist like me. I told her she didn’t have to get the moves exactly right, but just get in the water and follow the instructor. We got in the water and began to move our arms as we stepped around in sweeping motions. The gracefulness of the teacher was impressive as I followed her movements, letting the gentle lapping of the water absorb my thoughts. The teacher quietly emphasized that we watch our breathing, to let it match up with the motions we were performing. I got into such a flow that time seemed to fall away, and my only absorption was in doing the next sequence of steps. I was surprised when the class finished.
I think it worked. I looked over to Jenny, and she had a really funny look on her face. It was a combination of total relaxation mixed with a little surprise. “Why are we stopping?” she asked. I told her the class was over and that we had been working out for a full hour. She was amazed, and for the next several days raved about her new love for water workouts, and how much they helped her relax.
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life.