Published 03 May 2024

Exercises To Relieve Stress & Anxiety

We all know that exercise helps you feel great physically, but does exercise help anxiety too?

If stress and anxiety are getting the best of you, there are exercises you can do to alleviate burdens and restore balance. So, let’s jump straight into the best exercises to relieve stress and anxiety in real time and help build resilience to everyday stressors.

Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditations help you to cultivate a sense of relaxation and peace. Developing mindfulness not only reduces stress, but also improves sleep and happiness, and can even slow aging.

Check out the range of calming exercises for anxiety on the Virtusan App on iOS and Android, including Mindfulness Meditation with Dr. Shauna Shapiro.

Breathing exercises

There are a variety of simple breathing exercises to relieve stress—in a matter of minutes.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique involves breathing in through your nose for 4 counts, holding for 7, and exhaling through your mouth for 8 counts. Repeat this 3 times and let the stress go.

Another extremely effective breathing exercise is Virtusan’s Physiological Sigh. Developed by Dr. Andrew Huberman, the Physiological Sigh fosters relaxation by reducing heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension.

First, take a deep breath in through your nose. Once your lungs are full, you take another sharp inhale, and then exhale through your mouth, releasing an audible sigh—along with any built up stress.

Progressive muscle relaxation

Systematically tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in the body helps release physical tension and promote relaxation, making it an effective tool for reducing stress and anxiety.

By starting at the toes and progressively moving up the body, you’ll experience a deep sense of relaxation and renewal. Want some guidance to get started? Body Scan Meditation and NSDR (Non-Sleep Deep Rest) are guided exercises for stress relief available on the Virtusan App with Dr. Shauna Shapiro and Dr. Andrew Huberman.

Physical exercises

Combining stretching with aerobic exercises and resistance training forms a potent stress-relief trio.

Stretching comes in two main types: static and dynamic. Static stretching involves holding a stretch position, like a hamstring stretch, to release tension in specific muscles. Dynamic stretching, such as leg swings, involves controlled movements that gradually increase range of motion and warm up muscles before activity.

When paired with aerobic activities (like walking or running) and resistance training (like weight lifting), they release endorphins and reduce cortisol and adrenaline—the stress hormones. This balanced routine not only boosts physical vitality but also promotes mental tranquility, aiding in navigating life’s challenges with resilience and ease.

Nature walks

Connecting with nature is a powerful antidote to stress and anxiety. Taking leisurely walks in natural settings, especially during the morning sunlight, can have profound effects on mental wellbeing. Nature walks and Morning Sunlight Viewing not only reduce stress and boost mood but also regulate circadian rhythms, improve sleep quality, and increase feelings of vitality and energy throughout the day.


By incorporating meditation, breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, stretching, physical exercise, and natural sunlight into your life, you can cultivate greater resilience to the challenges of modern life. With dedication and practice, these holistic approaches offer a path to lasting peace and wellbeing in an increasingly hectic world.

Download Virtusan for free on iOS and Android for guided meditations, breathing exercises, and NSDR. Say ‘goodbye’ to stress and anxiety.


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