Exercise to relax!

2014March13_TravelandVacations_AFor most people, the idea of going on a vacation means doing nothing in order to relax and unwind. They imagine themselves applying suntan lotion on their bare skin and lying down on the beach, reading a book or sleeping with their shades on. While it is true that you’ll be able to recharge your body and mind through rest and sleep, lack of activity may also make you feel sluggish and less relaxed than ever. So, you should treat your vacation as an opportunity to stay active through exercise in order to truly relax.

Many studies have shown that exercise can control stress levels, leaving your body less tense, more energetic and fully rejuvenated. In clinical settings, exercises are used to treat nervous tension, making people less jittery. Exercise also releases endorphins, a substance that helps elevate your mood. When you are physically active, you feel better and more confident about yourself, resulting in an overall feeling of contentment. Even just a little bit of exercise while traveling can prevent that sluggish feeling that you get right after going on a vacation.

For people who prefer adventure travel such as trekking and hiking, you are already treating yourself to a relaxing exercise. However, for people whose idea of relaxation is doing absolutely nothing, here are some relaxing exercises that can keep your blood going and make you feel more energetic and rejuvenated than ever:

Breathing exercises

Doing slow, deep, and regular breathing can help alleviate stress and make you feel relaxed. You can do these exercises by first breathing in deeply and slowly through your diaphragm. Hold your breath for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale. Doing this sequence about 10 times throughout the day anywhere you are is a great way to release all the tension in your body.

Progressive muscular relaxation

This involves focusing on individual muscles and relaxing them one by one in order to remove the tension and tightness in each of them. It is best done in a quiet and secluded place, which should not be a problem if you are on a relaxing vacation. Tighten each muscle group and hold it for 20 seconds before slowly relaxing the contraction. Start from your facial muscles and progress down to your ankles and feet. For instance, wrinkle your forehead, hold, then relax. Continue this for your eyes, nose, tongue, jaws, neck, arms, hands, chest, back, stomach, buttocks, thighs, calves and feet.

Yoga and tai chi

These workouts are popular for not just engaging the body, but the mind as well. Yoga encourages you to practice breathing techniques in order to help you relax and relieve stress. There are many different types of yoga, but for beginners, you can try satyananda and hatha yoga, which are traditional forms of yoga featuring gentle poses. You can also try doing tai chi, which is a series of slow and flowing body movements that emphasize relaxation and energy circulation in the body. Since it is a low impact exercise, tai chi is safe for all age groups and fitness levels.

Go for a walk or bike ride

While the beach or other relaxing location may seem perfect, it can get a bit boring and lead you to miss out on all your holiday has to offer. Try setting aside time each day to get out and enjoy your surroundings. Go for a nice long walk along the beach or a hike into the wilderness. Heck, even rent a bicycle and try to get out of the town or resort you are staying in. The thrill of experiencing a new area will usually encourage you to keep on walking or riding which means more exercise and even more relaxation!

Really, doing anything out of the ordinary that involves exercise could go a long way in helping you relax and enjoy your vacation even more. Going on a holiday trip is not a valid reason for you to skip workouts. With these simple exercises that you can do even without any exercise equipment, you can redefine relaxation through exercising.

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