Move your way into a good mood with these lockdown-approved activities
Next Monday is Blue Monday, said to be the saddest day of the year thanks to the fading Christmas glow and the seemingly distant Spring days. And, this year, we know that every day might currently be feeling a little blue. But we also know that exercise is great for our mental wellbeing, thanks to its release of mood-boosting serotonin hormones. We spoke to Stephen Virtue, Fitness Development Manager at Total Fitness, to find out his favourite fun and family-friendly activities that you can do at or near your home.
Walk, jog, run
We don’t need to be told twice on this one – we already know how excellent running is! “Getting fresh air is incredibly important, even in the winter, so make sure to use your daily outing if you can,” says Stephen. “Running is a great option, but even a brisk walk is an excellent form of exercise for people of all fitness levels and experience – ideal for families.” Looking to add some cheer? “Listen to some upbeat music, or a comedy podcast to really boost your mood,” Stephen advises.
Have a boogie
“When you’re feeling stressed, there are few better ways to let go than dancing to your heart’s content,” says Stephen. “Whether you’re 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 tunes, is sure to brighten your day.”
Going freestyle can be a great way to shake off stress, but if you need a little more direction, try this one-song workout from Tally Rye to get you started. And if you’re feeling adventurous, TikTok has plenty of quick, 15-seconds dance trends to try your hand at – and you can even get the whole family involved.
“Yoga is a fantastic activity to take up during times of stress as it helps to relieve physical tension while also calming the mind,” advises Stephen. “It aids relaxation through muscle tension, deep stretches and breathing techniques. A study by Total Fitness found that 1 in 3 millennials feel less stressed and anxious after practicing yoga, and those benefits can be enjoyed even after a quick 10-minute practice during your lunch break.” There are lots of online options available – we suggest finding a local gym or studio to support, then trying a few different teachers to find someone that suits you.
If traditional yoga seems a little too serious for you, why not try something more fun? Disco Yoga is streamed twice a week and offers all the same moves but set to some funky beats – and there’s an after party for anyone who wants to dance the night away.
If you’re looking after children while schools are closed, playtime games are a wonderful way to spend time with them – and get yourself moving too. “From hula hooping to skipping, hopscotch to star jumps, children’s activities are surprisingly good forms of exercise,” says Stephen. “Even if you don’t have any little ones to keep entertained, channelling your inner child will be sure to put a smile on your face.”
Not sure where to start? Ask your children, or a child you know! Being inspired by their imagination might introduce you to a new way of moving or thinking, and could also help you to see the world from their lighter perspective for a few moments – something we could all do with right now.