The Workout That Helps You Leave Stress Behind
Exercise should be a release from the stresses of everyday life, not a mindless slog. Workouts that require your full attention are the best way to reconnect and be present.
2017 was a doozy. From a contentious political environment and global natural disasters—it was the kind of stress-filled year that most of us would rather forget.
But with gut-wrenching headlines and alerts popping up on my phone 24/7, and angry sparring sucking the joy out of social media (where did all the cute puppies go?), I found myself struggling a bit with the chaos of it all. Sure, things at home were swell, but it seemed like the instant I ventured, physically or emotionally, into the real world, it had turned into some dystopian alternate universe. I needed a break. A break from the headline stress, the perpetual worrying…
I found it in hot yoga. A boutique chain near my house offers a class that everyone raves about, a combination of yoga and weights set to killer music. As someone who has been working out regularly for the past 20+ years, I was shocked and humbled to see how swiftly this class kicked my ass and handed it to me on a platter.
And it felt so good.
Fast-paced Sun Salutations with 5-pound dumbbells in my hands is no easy feat, but between my pounding heart and the sweat dripping in my eyes, I found myself unable to think about anything other than making it through my next plank, let alone World War III. There were no thoughts about our country’s political turmoil or the latest scandal. It was just me and some strangers in a hot room, trying to do as many straight leg push ups as we could do before dropping to our knees. And even though this might sound like punishment to some people, the camaraderie fostered by the class, along with the sense of personal accomplishment and the awesome soundtrack, it was pure fun.
I emerge from every class feeling incredible, like I can handle anything. After reflecting a bit, I realize the reason goes beyond endorphins; when I’m in this particular workout, I’m totally in the moment. Not only am I too pumped up to think about scary headlines, I’m too pumped up to worry about work deadlines, grocery lists, the jeans I’ve needed to return for the past three months or the pedicure I so desperately need. I’m right there, in the squats, in the chaturangas, in the Pigeon Pose. My muscles are burning, but my face is smiling. I return, over and over, because this is a workout that feels so good, free of expectations, free of stress, free of what-ifs?
Elev8d Fitness is founded on the idea that the best workouts are the ones that are measured in joy, not in biceps curls or pounds lost. Much like Native Americans invented lacrosse because it was fun—not because it seemed like a great way to incinerate calories or ditch a muffin top—Elev8d celebrates playground-esque moves like bear crawls and jumping up onto benches because they’re fun. They allow you be in the moment, rather than worrying about what’s happening tomorrow, or even later on that day. A fun workout keeps people coming back.
So whether “fun” to you means weighted yoga in a 93-degree room, swimming in the ocean, running a charity 5K, or traversing an outdoor obstacle course, Elev8d-style—do it. Get moving. Find your fun. Be in the moment. Know no fear.