Did you know that only one in five adults meets the CDC’s Physical Activity Guidelines for fitness well-being? Working out on a regular basis is difficult when you already have too much on your plate, you’re stressed out, and — let’s be honest for a minute — you probably dread every part of it. You spend an hour or two at the gym, putting yourself through pain and just wishing you were at home, binge-watching Netflix instead.
Because Americans tend to have too much stress and not enough time to maintain health and wellness, a category of exercise known as “mind-body workout plans” have become increasingly popular. Mind-body workouts incorporate exercise while giving you tools to balance stress levels and improve your clarity and outlook. There are several different forms of mind-body exercises with various levels of intensity, to meet any fitness level. We’ve listed a few popular types below, in order of least intense to more.
Yoga brings your mind, body, and soul together through stretches, introspection, and focus on breathing techniques. Yoga encourages balance, flexibility, coordination, and inner peace. If you have an injury that prevents you from participating in high-impact workouts or want to start working out gently, yoga is a good place to begin.
- Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a form of martial arts that incorporates breathing control and spacial awareness into graceful movement. The benefits of tai chi include improved balance, coordination, mental clarity and gracefulness. Like yoga, tai chi varies in intensity from low-impact to more invigorating workouts. Many fitness instructors say that starting with tai chi is an excellent, gentle way to ease yourself into wellness through fitness, especially your lifestyle is fairly sedentary before starting out.
Pilates is a form of mind-body exercise that many trained dancers prefer because of its benefits to the core. Like yoga, Pilates uses breathing exercises to help you maintain control of your body while you workout, which promotes calming skills in daily life. Pilates uses both floor techniques and exercise equipment to build your flexibility, muscle tone, and core strength.
- PiYo Workouts
PiYo is a fusion of yoga, Pilates, martial arts, and dance. The primary focus of trained PiYo coaches is to help you burn fat, increase strength, and embrace joy. Unlike the other workout plans in the mind-body exercise family, PiYo is less zen-focused and more contemporary in its approach. Your PiYo coach will probably lead your class with upbeat, mainstream music, to keep students engaged in the workout. Another difference between PiYo and other mind-body workouts is that PiYo coaches focus on total body health and incorporate a PiYo eating plan into your journey to wellness.
Choosing the Best Mind-Body Path to Take for Yourself
Every mind-body exercise plan has its own benefits and will encourage total wellness. To find the best path, ask yourself the following three questions:
- What is my goals for beginning mind-body workouts? (To lose weight, reduce stress, gain inner-peace, increase agility, etc.)
- What physical limitations do I have?
- What time commitment do I want to invest in my wellness?
With the answers in mind, you should know which mind-body path fits your lifestyle best.
Do you participate in any forms of mind-body exercise? What form do you practice? What benefits have you experienced? We want to hear your input in the comment section below.