Feeling a little ego-deflated? Pressure to be “perfect” and images of hyper-skinny chicks swathing the covers of magazines can be instant self-esteem depleters. And while intense sweat sessions might be a sure fire way to lose some weight, if you’re hating every second of the process as you punish your body during uber-intense daily workouts, then order the salad at dinner as you drool over the steak, fries, and a chocolate chip cookie the next table over… what’s the point?
Thankfully, you can make your workouts do double-duty, serving as modes to achieve above said “perfect” while simultaneously naturally boosting your confidence and making you feel gorgeous and strong- “flaws” and all! Yes, studies have shown that regardless of size or shape, people who workout feel better about their bodies than those who don’t. Suddenly “perfect” isn’t defined by a specific shape… but more a positive mindset and healthy attitude. But it’s not just any old exercise that has the ego-boosting impact. Low to medium intensity cardio exercise, extended durations of high intensity aerobic exercise, and low intensity yoga have been proven to be the most beneficial confidence boosters.
The Runner’s High
It’s been shown that people who do intense cardio exercise- like running- will actually have an increase of cortisol in their brain during the first 29 minutes. But at around the 30 minute mark, the levels drop, producing… yes, the runner’s high.
Get High… Without Going for a Run
The reason for the so-called “runner’s high” is:
-After 20 minutes of cardio: The release of Endorphins in your brain- essentially happy-making chemicals.
-After 30 minutes of cardio: Cortisol levels- the stress chemical- decrease, making you feel happier and less anxious.
Your Ultimate Ego-Boosting Workout:
Tree- This yoga pose helps you to focus on your body and go inward. Breathe deep belly breaths (slows the chatter in your brain and reduces anxiety) and focus on how amazing you are. Your little stabilizing muscles in your legs, butt, and even your core will be firing as you balance on one leg. Hold for 1 minute on each leg.
Warrior I- This yoga pose is a stance of power. Holding your body upright and strong tells the brain that you are confident, proud, motivated, and ready to tackle any task at hand. It’s also an amazing total-body toner. 1 minute, each side.
Archer Pose- A Kundalini Yoga pose, archer is believed to help expand your energy and power while tapping into all the chakras, helping them open, heal and balance. 1 minute, each side.
Air Jacks- Similar to a jumping jack, but much more explosive, air jacks fire your muscles, open your heart, get your blood pumping, and will leave you breathless. 20 reps
Run- Time to kick it up and do those 30 minutes (at least) of intense cardio activity. Pump your arms, control your speed, make sure to have a stride that’s not too long, get into a rhythm with your breath and enjoy the ride.
Just remember, it’s not just about the physical activity, it’s about enjoying it. If you enjoy it, you’ll feel better. If you feel better, you’ll look better.