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It’s Blue Monday, don’t let it get the better of you with these FIVE mood-boosting exercises

BLUE MONDAY is the name given to the third Monday of January, believed by many to be the most depressing day of the year and, with the nation under strict lockdown restrictions, this year will likely be tougher than ever before.

Although January may be the month where many people suffer from low mood, with the challenges of lockdown only adding to this further, there are plenty of steps that can be taken at home to help improve your mood, with exercise being a fantastic option.

To help the nation beat January blues this year, Stephen Virtue, Fitness Development Manager at Total Fitness, reveals his top exercises that are both fun to do and will release mood boosting serotonin hormones.

  1. HIIT Workouts

Made up of intense exercises and fast pace movements, HIIT workouts can seem intimidating, especially if you haven’t done one before, however these energetic workouts are a fantastic way to boost your mood. As many of us are spending the entire day at home and at our desks, HIIT workouts are a great way to get the blood pumping and work all parts of your body, plus the achievement of conquering a tough circuit is a sure way to add some positivity to your day.

There are plenty of online HIIT classes you can follow, or simply create your own circuit: choose your five favourite aerobic exercises, such as burpees, jump squats, and high kicks, and do each exercise for 30 seconds with a 10 second active rest between, then repeat three times.

2. Get Walking

Over lockdown, getting fresh air is incredibly important, so use your daily outing to enjoy your favourite local spots and get some exercise in. A brisk walk is a great form of exercise for people of all fitness levels and experience, plus the positive impact it has on your body is not to be overlooked – not only will it produce happy endorphins, 30 minutes of brisk walking will burn between 100-300 calories. For free walking apps, check out the link.

For an additional pick-me-up, listen to some upbeat music or your favourite comedy podcast to really boost your mood.

3. Dancing

When you are feeling stressed or down, there are few better ways to let go than dancing to your heart’s content. Whether you are a complete novice with two left feet or able to follow the most difficult hip-hop routines, dancing is a great form of aerobic exercise that will increase your heart rate and, when paired with your favourite music, is sure to brighten your day.

With various dance-based video games and plenty of TikTok challenges online, dancing is also a great social exercise to do with your household.

4. Yoga

Shot of a young woman listening to music while doing yoga

Yoga is a great exercise to take up during times of stress as it helps to relieve physical tension whilst calming your mind. It helps to aid relaxation through muscle tension, deep stretches and targeting your breathing. In fact, a study by Total Fitness found that 1 in 3 millennials feel less stressed and anxious after practising yoga.

Also a great exercise for strengthening and toning muscles, doing just 10 minutes of light yoga on your lunch break can do wonders for your wellbeing and help you to feel more connected. 

5. Playtime Activities

If you are looking after children whilst schools are closed, a great way to spend time with them, and get your heart rate up, is with some playtime games. From hula hooping to skipping, hop-scotch to star jumps, these kid-friendly activities are surprisingly good forms of exercise.

Even if you don’t have any little ones to keep entertained, channelling your inner child with the school-time favourites will put a smile on your face on Blue Monday and burn some fat too!

There you have it, 5 mood-boosting exercises that you can easily do at home to help beat the January blues and put a smile on your face throughout lockdown.

Main pic by: @sushimi

Diane Cooke
Diane Cooke is a three times award-winning journalist who has worked for UK national/regional newspapers, magazines and websites.

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