The best mood boosting exercises to beat Blue Monday with

Exercise your sadness away with these mood boosting workouts to beat Blue Monday

Mood Boosting Exercises to Beat Blue Monday
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Just what we needed! Today is Blue Monday, the third Monday of the year, believed to be the 'most depressing' day of the year. Given the circumstances – national lockdown in many countries, including the UK – this year's Blue Monday could be more Blue than usual. However, we have some exercise tips that will help improve your mood on any day.

Get fit for 2021

We asked Stephen Virtue, Fitness Development Manager at Total Fitness, to share his top exercises that could help us tackle this sad day. Get ready for some serotonin-boosting, Blue Monday-beating exercises!

PLEASE NOTE: If you have even the slightest doubts about your mental health, please consult a medical professional. The below exercises can help improve mood but they were not design to treat clinical depression. Please be sensible and remember: help is available for everyone.

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Foodhub Takeaway Delivery App | New customers get 21% off
Foodhub is offering 21% off on all orders placed by new customers via the Foodhub app or website on Blue Monday. Simply input code 'BLUE21' and enjoy a tasty treat at your feet! Offer valid from Monday 18 January – 00:00 Tuesday 19 January 2021. 

get walking blue monday

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Get (brisk) walking

Getting fresh air is incredibly important, even when there isn't a lockdown going on, so use your daily outing time to enjoy local spots and get some exercise in the nearest park.

Brisk walking 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 endorphins, the so called “feel-good” chemical, but 30 minutes of brisk walking will burn between 100-300 calories, depending on your sex, age and weight.

For an additional pick-me-up, listen to some upbeat music or your favourite comedy podcast to really boost your mood. You might needs some workout earbuds or noise cancelling headphones for that.

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Hoka One One Women's Challenger ATR 5 | Was £115 | Now £68.99 | Save £46.01 at Hoka One One
Take the path less travelled with the Hoka One One Women's Challenger ATR 5. Great for trail running or nature walking, the Challenger ATR 5 features dual-layer mesh upper, internal heel counter for support on all terrains, CMEVA foam midsole for stable footing and absorbs impact points and podular outsole design for stability on uneven terrain.

ballet-inspired full body workout

(Image credit: Rhea Sheedy / Ballet Fusion)

Dance away your worries

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, and it will increase your heart rate plus boost mood when paired with your favourite music.

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

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Fitbit Versa 3 | Buy it for £199 directly from Fitbit
The Fitbit Versa 3 comes with built-in GPS, in-app workout intensity map, PurePulse 2.0 optical heart rate sensor technology and the Active Zone Minutes feature to monitor your fitness activities, even when you're not actively logging workouts. The Fitbit Versa 3 also makes your wrist smarter: it has a built-in speaker and microphone to take quick phone calls or to send them to voicemail if you really can't be bothered to answer the phone.

lululemon yoga

(Image credit: lululemon)

Regain your balance with 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 one in three 'millennials' – people born between 1981-1996 – feel less stressed and anxious after practicing yoga.

Doing just 10 minutes of light yoga on your lunch break can do wonders for your wellbeing and for strengthening and toning muscles. Try this yoga-inspired core blaster that powers up your abs in just 15 minutes per day or this 10-minute yoga sequence for an instant energy boost.

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Lululemon The Reversible Mat 5mm | Buy it for $78 at Lululemon
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jump rope

(Image credit: Meglio)

Work hard, play harder

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!

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Meglio Skipping Rope Extreme | Was £11.99 | Now £6.99 | Save £5 at Meglio
Skipping is often overlooked, but it's one of the best ways to get a high-intensity sweat on while developing great coordination. Used by everyone from Crossfit pros to world champion boxers, to small girls, a skipping rope is one of the best ways to burn fat. Never tried it and think we're kidding? Try skipping for two minutes and see how far you get…

HIIT training TRX

(Image credit: TRX)

Get sweatin' with 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. HIIT workouts consist of short bursts of very high intensity exercises – these bring the heart rate up to 90% of your max heart rate – followed by slightly longer 'rest' periods when your heart rate is brought down to 60-70%.

HIIT workouts are quick with some versions if it, such as Tabata-style workouts, can be short as 4-5 minutes at a time. Even the longer sessions tend to last no longer than half an hour, which makes HIIT the perfect workout for busy people. Not to mention, 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.

Need even more inspiration? Try this PT's bad ass HIIT workout or this 15-minute HIIT workout.

Total Fitness is the leading mid-market health club in the North and provides more ways to get fit, stay in shape, and more support to keep members focused. With 17 health clubs across the North of England and Wales, Total Fitness provides a full-service fitness offering; guided by knowledgeable and supportive fitness teams, the brand works hard to meet the individual needs of its members.

For more information, please visit Total Fitness.

Get Fit for 2021!

This is part of T3's Fit for 2021 programme, which will be running throughout January. We aim to bring you tips on diet, lifestyle and exercise that will help you shape up for what is certain to be a difficult year. One thing we can guarantee: it WILL be better than last year. And hopefully we'll help you get the most out of it. 

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.