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.
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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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.
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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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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.
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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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!
- This jump rope full body workout will burn 150 calories in just 10 minutes
- This is why skipping is a great full body workout
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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.
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.
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.