Since you were a kid, you’ve been told that it’s important to eat right and get plenty of exercise if you want to have a healthy body. Well, now we know it goes much further than that. Working out doesn’t just carry physical health benefits — it’s great for your mental health, too!
So, the next time you’re feeling a little down, try getting up and get moving with some simple at-home exercises that are sure to put you in a better mood.
How often should you exercise?
First of all, reaping those mental health benefits requires consistency, so it helps to have a regular routine. If you’re training for a marathon, that’s one thing. But if you’re focusing on boosting your mental health, here’s some really good news: a little goes a long way.
Simply get started. Sure, the “optimal” recommendation may be 30–60 minutes for three to five days a week, but if that sounds impossible, try something easier. Start with one minute a day if that’s what it takes!
And here’s another important thing to keep in mind: There is such a thing as too much exercise. Pushing yourself too hard, too fast or too far will have the opposite effect if you’re hoping to feel better. Moderation is key, friends. Listen to your body!
What type of exercise is best for mental health?
This may be a bit of a trick question. Since everyone is different (different mental health struggles/needs, different interests, etc.) what’s best for one person may not fit for someone else. (Your sister may love running, but you might be more of a yoga gal, for example.)
There are some studies, though, that have found that aerobic exercises like jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, dancing and even gardening (yes, gardening) have been proven to reduce anxiety and depression. But when both the snow and the temperature are falling outside, that might put a damper on your swimming/cycling/gardening plans.
And if you don’t have a gym pass, don’t despair — here are a few easy workouts you can do in the comfort of your own home! (And your body and brain will thank you.)
5 simple workouts you can do at home
All five of these suggestions are so ridiculously easy, there’s no excuse for not trying them! None of them requires any equipment and can be done in as little as 10 to 30 minutes. (Or longer, depending on how many reps you want to get in.)
Jog in place
Jogging in place gives you all the cardiovascular benefits of running without requiring you to actually hit the pavement. Turn on your favorite show or pop a podcast in your ear and start moving those legs up and down. No treadmill or fancy machine necessary!
Walk up and down the stairs
Another good calorie-burner? Stairs. You could get your heart pumping and burn around 100 calories just by walking up and down them for 10 minutes! No stairs at your house? Step up and down off of a stool or chair and it’ll achieve the same effect. (Just be careful and make sure your footing is stable.)
Yup. Getting your groove on in the kitchen isn’t just a fun post-dinner activity. It counts as exercise and it’s an endorphin party! It’s even more fun if you get the whole family involved. (Bonus points if you can coax your teenagers into it.)
15-minute, full-body workout with no equipment
If you prefer to mix things up with a little high intensity interval training (HIIT), here’s a good one for beginners. It only takes 15 minutes and targets several different muscle groups, so it’s a great full-body workout.
Arms and abs workout with no equipment
Give your upper body and core a good burn with this quick home exercise routine. You can even try it in your kitchen! (They do say abs are made there.)
Looking for something a little more challenging?
These easy peasy workouts are a great way to get your feet wet in the world of at-home exercising, but if you’re the competitive type, you might be looking for something that will push you a little harder. If so, we’ve got not one but TWO month-long fitness challenges that will leave you feeling pumped by the time your 30 days are up.
*Note: If you’re thinking of tackling these two challenges simultaneously, pump the brakes, girl! Focus on just one at a time so you can reap the rewards at the end of two separate months. (Trust us.)
Challenge #1: Abs
Okay, girl, before we share this one, we want to stress one very important point: The Abs Challenge is not about looking “hot” or “skinny” or fixing that “mommy tummy.” There are actually a lot of health benefits associated with strengthening your core, and it’s not all about looks. (In fact, if looks are your main motivation, you might just want to skip this one.)
On the other hand, if you like the sound of having less back pain and being able to do daily tasks (laundry, picking up your toddlers, gardening, playing volleyball, swinging that Wonder Woman lasso, etc.) with ease, then this is 100% for you!
This 30-day abs challenge helps you work up to doing 125 sit-ups, 200 crunches, 65 leg raises, and a 120-second plank by the time you’re through, and YOU. CAN. DO. IT.
Get started today!
Challenge #2: Booty
Again, this is not so much about how you look as how you feel! And did you know that your derriere is the largest muscle in your body? It’s time to take better care of it!
A strong bum means greater speed and agility as well as a decreased risk of injury when exercising. (Because who’s got time for pulled hammies and thrown out backs? No one — especially not you.)
The 30-day Booty Challenge will have you squatting, bridging, and lunging like a pro by the end of it.
Start the challenge ASAP! Even better, grab a friend and do it together! There’s nothing like good ol’ positive peer pressure to keep you motivated.
How to make your workouts more fun
Look — we get it. It's hard to find the motivation to do something you don’t enjoy. (Some of us would rather stick our finger in a socket than work out, amirite?) Usually, it’s because we’re too busy, too tired, or just plain bored by the idea. If that describes you, it’s time to inject a little fun into the process.
If you dread workouts and exercise, here are a few things you can try:
- Create a workout playlist. Few things are more mood-altering than music, and you know you’ve got some tunes that make you want to move. Why not use that to your advantage and add them to a customized workout playlist?
- Invest in quality workout clothes. Honest question: How much more motivated would you feel to move your body if you were wearing workout clothes you loved? Finding the best activewear for your body shape is a great way to amp up your confidence!
- Involve your friends. Everything's better with friends, right? Whether you invite your BFFs to work out with you or turn it into a friendly competition, involving other people will help you stay active and accountable.
Follow us online for more at-home workout ideas
In case you’re new here, the goal of SexyModest isn’t just to make and sell modest clothing for women. (Although, yes, that is definitely a fun part of it.)
Our mission is to make women’s lives better.
Whether that’s through providing cute, comfortable and affording clothing options, sharing health/exercise tips, or cultivating a community of love and support where women can come and feel inspired to live their lives with joy and purpose, we’re here for you.
If you want “in” on all these great benefits — including more fitness and nutrition advice — be sure to follow @modestshoppin on Instagram!
What are your favorite at-home exercises or workouts? Let us know in the comments!