Exercise improves stamina while burning calories that contribute to the deficit required to see a lower number on the scale each week. Many workouts, however, help boost energy, improve sleep and promote enhanced mood and mental health along with feelings of overall well-being simultaneously.
Ultimately, both high-intensity and moderate-intensity workouts can burn fat. Whether one is more effective than the other is still up for debate.
Burning fat requires a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training. The Mayo Clinic suggests cardio that raises your heart rate to 60 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate (which is approximately 220 minus your age).
Nevertheless, strength training should not be neglected. Basically, the more muscles you have, the more fat your body burns––even at times of rest. So focus on activities that get your blood pumping, increase oxygen uptake, burn extra calories, and build essential muscle for your most balanced body.
Regardless of intensity, the following are excellent workouts to add to your weekly schedule to eliminate excess body fat, improve mind-body balance and increase energy.
You can benefit your heart as well as your brain from swimming.
Mind - It is your brain that is responsible for your cognition and emotions, so a healthy brain is essential to optimal mental health. The benefits of swimming include the reduction of anxiety and depression that can help support this pursuit.
Furthermore, swimming helps kids reach cognitive milestones more quickly, according to some researchers.
Body - Swimming is an excellent low-impact, full-body workout. Plus, swimming helps you sleep better at night with deep sleep being really important for brain health since your brain eliminates waste while you sleep.
Further, you produce and maintain an elevated heart rate while swimming, and the natural water pressure helps support your body and can gently improve blood flow.
The benefits of gardening are many, including the ability to beautify our surroundings and grow some of your own food for the crispiest, freshest salads and produce.
Mind - A garden can give you a sense of peace and contentment. Gardening can help you reduce negative thoughts and feelings by focusing your attention on immediate tasks and details.
Plus, many people find that simply being around colorful and beautiful plants reduces their stress levels by default.
Body - Gardening in a community fosters a sense of belonging, cultivates a culture of rest, calm, and tranquility, and allows you to exert enough energy to break a sweat and raise your heart rate naturally to increase your energy and aid in stamina.
In Hatha yoga, the body and mind are primed, while Raja yoga features meditation and strict adherence to a series of disciplined steps.
Try these three yoga poses for increased energy & focus:
Downward facing dog: As you hold this pose in the upside-down V stance, you may even feel your heart rate rise.
Place your feet hip-width apart and stand facing the back of your mat. Put your hands on the mat and walk them outward until you're in a plank position.
Lift your hips and stretch your shoulders back after your shoulders are over your wrists. Bend your knees as much as is necessary to keep your back flat.
Upward facing dog: Upward facing dog is performed by rippling our spine forward into a plank position. Then flip your feet over so your toes are on the ground, and lower your hips to the mat.
If lifting your legs off the mat is too challenging for your back, you can simply drop your knees. Instead of high cobra, try low cobra where your belly is on the mat and your shoulders are gently raised.
Chair pose: The chair pose in yoga is similar to a squat. This is an excellent way to get your blood pumping since your legs are your body's largest muscle group.
You can do a chair pose by standing straight up with your feet together. As you sit in a chair, bend your knees and push your butt backward while keeping your knees aligned with your toes.
You should be able to see your big toes if you look down. Take eight deep breaths while straightening your arms above your head.
Mind - Yoga is a low-impact exercise that decreases stress hormones while increasing beneficial brain chemicals like endorphins and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). By releasing these feel-good chemicals, anxiety and depression can be improved.
Body - The vagal nerve is stimulated and the chest is opened by yoga poses. This may contribute to an increase in physical energy as well as an increase in subjective vigor and power.
Cycling can get your morning started on the right foot as low-intensity morning rides may burn fat, enhance endurance performance, and boost your energy and metabolism throughout the day.
Mind - The steady, uniform motion of cycling provides a relaxing effect on the brain, balancing both physical and mental function. Furthermore, cycling promotes creative thought patterns that aid in feelings of calm and wellbeing.
Plus, cycling can double as a way to get into the Zen zone as a powerful form of meditation as you locate beautiful scenic routes to enjoy regularly.
Body - Cycling can help to prevent some serious medical events and conditions like stroke, heart attack, certain cancers, depression, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.
Plus, riding a bike is an enjoyable, heart-healthy, and fun low-impact form of exercise perfect for the young and young-at-heart, alike.
Furthermore, cycling is easy to fit into your daily regimen by biking to work, school, or your favorite local coffee shop.
Exercise that incorporates a partner can provide a boost to morale. Plus, tennis provides mind-body benefits and a boon to energy levels to boot.
Mind - Focusing on the friendly competition with a few spirited matches may also provide a brief respite from ruminating on the worries and challenges in life.
Body - Tennis, like other types of exercise that elevate heart rate triggers the brain to release feel-good hormones such as endorphins and serotonin—both known to improve your mood, among other perks.
#6. Tai Chi
Tai chi ch'üan, also known as shadowboxing, is a Chinese martial art used for meditation, defense training, health benefits, and health maintenance.
Mind - As we age, Tai Chi helps us retain our memory by combining balance exercises with movement sequences. Also, human brain imaging studies have shown Tai Chi can improve cognition, reduce falls risk, and change specific neuronal functions.
Body - According to Tai Chi theory, the proper flow of qi is necessary in order to maintain health since qi is the body's vital energy. In Tai Chi, energy is delivered through 20 pathways (meridians) in the body.
#7. Resistance training
Maintaining muscle tissue requires intention as we age. But the effort is well worth it as resistance training can boost confidence and prove helpful to prevent degenerative injuries––like osteoporosis-related bone fractures.
Mind - Resistance training may improve your mood and body image, as well as your self-confidence. Plus, pumping iron can aid in achieving more restful and restorative sleep.
Body - Expect better posture. Injuries are less likely to occur. Bone strength and density are increased, and osteoporosis risk is reduced.
Stretching and low-impact movements are an excellent approach to improve strength while taking it easy on your joints.
Mind - Aside from offering an opportunity to socialize, Pilates can change the level of chemicals in the brain (serotonin, cortisol, and endorphins), distract one from negative thoughts, relieve stress, enhance mindfulness, and help establish a well-rounded self-care routine.
Body - The Pilates method is gentle on the body while increasing energy levels.Plus, with Pilates, you increase your cardiorespiratory capacity, which aids in increasing your feel-good hormones, oxygenation, and blood circulation.
#9. Brisk walking
Getting some fresh air and taking a brisk walk can boost your energy and mood. Exercise like this helps you burn calories without putting a lot of pressure on your joints.
Mind - Walking briskly can quickly improve your mood. The benefits of regular exercise are especially helpful for people who suffer from mild to moderate depression.
Regardless of the type of exercise you do, as long as it suits you and you do enough of it, it's beneficial.
Body - Furthermore, regular brisk walking can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. This will help you prevent a wide range of conditions like heart disease, stroke, hypertension, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and others––while improving cardiovascular fitness.
Your muscles and other body tissues receive oxygen and fuel from aerobic activities, such as hiking. Besides strengthening your muscles and lungs, this additional fuel increases your alertness, energy, and endurance levels!
Mind - By hiking in nature, individuals can clear their minds, reduce mental fatigue, and think more creatively.
Body - The benefits of exercising outdoors include feeling more positive, having more energy, and feeling less stressed, anxious, and angry.
By escaping from stressful environments, breathing fresh air, exercising, and relaxing in nature, you can actually affect positive physiological changes in the brain––and without a prescription.
Finding fun and creative ways to regularly elevate the heart rate provides many benefits for the body, including promoting weight loss.
However, physically demanding and calming activities like gardening and Pilates offer cross-sectional benefits, improving both mental and physical health. Plus, some of these activities can develop into a beloved hobby and point of interest and passion to enjoy for many years to come.
Explore the options shared and see which you’d like to incorporate into your routine. The many mind-body benefits possible are virtually endless.
- Sydó, N., Abdelmoneim, S. S., Mulvagh, S. L., Merkely, B., Gulati, M., & Allison, T. G. (2014). Relationship between exercise heart rate and age in men vs women. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 89(12), 1664–1672. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.08.018
- Kelly, P., Murphy, M., & Mutrie, N. (2017). The health benefits of walking. Walking, 61–79. https://doi.org/10.1108/s2044-994120170000009004
- von Garnier, S., Shapiro, S. L., & Ong, J. C. (2021). Mind–body interventions and sleep: Dealing with stress and improving emotional wellness. Integrative Sleep Medicine, 171–194. https://doi.org/10.1093/med/9780190885403.003.0011