Tue 4th Jul 2023

5 Exercises To Boost Your Mood At Home

We love being at home. All the creature comforts and cosy corners of your house, no need for makeup. Dress code? Comfy. 

BLISS.

The thing is, dealing with factors like the British weather not playing ball when we want it to, never ending uni deadlines that can have you chained to your desk and even things like addictive Netflix series, it's actually pretty easy to look back at the week and realise you've been stuck inside for most of it. Some of you even work from home too.  
 

Can you have too much of a good thing?
 

We all know what it’s like to feel a bit off your game and not your usual fabulous self, and it can be pretty hard to feel upbeat if you have to be cooped up at home for a longer period of time with not much chance of getting out and about properly. 

These things happen - and it's so easy to end up feeling sluggish, isolated and a bit down pretty quickly.
 

It’s super important to make sure you keep an eye on your mood, mental health and fitness if you’re going to be stuck inside at home for any length of time, and luckily there’s loads of simple tips and tricks you can use to feel a bit more like yourself again when you feel cabin fever setting in.
 

It’s well known that one of the easiest ways to quickly boost your mood is being active or doing some exercise. When you feel a bit down and don’t have time or can’t leave your house we know the last thing you feel like doing is a workout routine in your front room...
 

... But hear us out.   

Getting active, even if it's just 5 minutes of quick, light exercise in your own home can do the world of good for lifting your mood. The science is solid. Exercising releases endorphins - natural mood lifters!   
 

Exercising and staying fit isn’t about how you look, it’s about how it makes you feel. Health and happiness go hand in hand. So, when you feel like you just can’t even function, it's time to reset and boost your mood! 

So, stick something comfortable on. Think support and flexibility so you can move freely with no constraint. Denim is the enemy here. Whether wearing your favourite sporty, stylish activewear helps put your head in the game, or you love rocking soft, loose leisurewear, change it up and get ready to unwind with these 5 ways to boost your mood through exercising at home.

1. Stretching

You don't need to run a marathon to enjoy the benefits of a bit of physical activity. There's so much mood boosting benefit to be gained from a few simple exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home.

Sometimes it's more to do with taking a little bit of time away from whatever you're doing and dedicating it instead to some much needed 'me time', and if that involves moving your body in ways you wouldn't normally you're on to a winner.

Nothing better than having a good stretch to loosen your muscles and relax any tension you've built up from being inside or stressed for too long.

model stretching on floor wearing activewear

You don't need to be the most flexible gal in the room to enjoy a good stretch. Who knows though, you might discover you're part woman, part elastic!

It's a nice easy exercise to do in your own home. No equipment needed, and you just need enough floor space to step out into a comfortable lunge. If needed, shift that sofa to the back of the room and get your stretch game on.

The important thing with stretching is is to make sure you do it slowly, gently and absolutely don't push your body too hard when you feel the nice, light stretch in your muscles.

Working from head to toe, here are some simple stretches to ease a bit of tension and show yourself some much needed love - perfect for boosting your mood! Once you're comfortable with these and are in tune with what your body feels it's capable of in terms of stretching, you'll be able to stretch further in each pose and even experiment to find the best stretch for you.

Neck Stretch 

Sitting or standing comfortably, gently tilt your head to the left until you feel the muscles on the right side of your neck stretch. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Shoulder Stretch 

Standing comfortably, bring your right arm across your chest  (keeping your arm straight) and placing your left hand below your right elbow, apply a light pressure until you feel the stretch in your right shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Core & Shoulder Stretch

Stand comfortably with your feet shoulder width apart. Raise your arms above your head and take a deep breath in. Interlocking your fingers with palms facing upwards, exhale and push your hands towards the ceiling, gently moving side to side to feel the stretch run down your sides.

Calf Stretch

Loosen your legs by stepping out into a lunge with your left leg and bending forward with your left leg whilst keeping your right leg straight with your right foot flat on the floor, keeping your toes forward. You should feel a nice burn in your right calf. Hold for 10 seconds then swap legs.

2. Yoga

Yoga is a wonderful physical, mental and spiritual practice that you can delve as deep into as you want. People study for years to master the different forms of yoga or, to enjoy it casually you can simply dip a toe in every now and again to re-centre yourself if you're not feeling your usual self. We all need a bit of a mood boost sooner or later.

Similar to the loosening, tension-easing exercise that stretching provides, yoga focuses on your posture and breathing to deliver a calming workout experience that can be as easy or challenging as you want for as long as you want.

Yoga is absolutely one of our go-to exercises or physical activities to do at home when we're in a pinch, as all you need are some flexible clothes and a yoga mat. 

Not only is yoga perfect for exercising at home because it just needs you and a soft surface, doing a bit of yoga at home every now and then is a fabulous way to get some low impact fitness in. Not only will you finish with a smile on your face, you'll find that you feel stronger and more supple. 

Not a bad way to clear the cobwebs away for half an hour or so!

The best way to learn yoga is to follow a programme created by one of the many talented yoga instructors out there. We absolutely love Rachel Scott's Instagram feed and educational posts packed full of poses and pose flows to try. Check out her photos and videos for inspiration and to discover a great way to keep healthy and happy.

Yoga, like most forms of exercise, is progressive. If you're up for a challenge, see if you can commit to doing little bits here and there for a few weeks and see how much progress you make with holding poses for longer each time and even taking on poses that you'd think 'hell no' to. 

You'll have a big smile on your face when you conquer that crow pose in your bedroom!

Namaste.

3. Home Workouts

Getting your heart pumping and working up a solid sweat can feel like torture at the time, but it does so much good for your mental and physical health. Can't make it to the gym? No worries. With the below you'll have everything you need to keep fit in your own home. Bashing out a bit of fitness and exercising in your own home is a great way to show yourself some TLC and bring your mood up if you're feeling a bit sluggish and down. 

We know that working out at home can feel pretty weird at first as you don't associate your home with high energy exercise (or at least, we don't!). That's why it's so important to treat yourself to workout gear that'll help you get in the zone and smash your goals. 

When it comes down to 'how do I exercise at home?' and actual fitness workout to do in your own home, the possibilities are endless!

You're not just relegated to toning, you can get some heart-pumping cardio in and even throw in some High Intensity Interval Training routines in. No gym equipment? No problem. We'll first take you through some simple but effective home workout exercise that you can do to really feel the burn!

No Equipment Workouts

Combine the below and form your own routine, and mix up the sets to keep it challenging. Take the workout from toning to calorie burning HIIT training by doing sets for a minute at a time with as many reps as possible. Take a break and then repeat the entire routine up to 3 times to get a pump on.

1) Squats

These really will make you feel the burn and are the ultimate thigh and bum workout when you have minimal space and no equipment. Place your feet hip width apart with your toes pointing slightly outwards, keep your back straight and sit your bottom down by bending your knees as if there's an invisible chair beneath you. Your knees shouldn't come forward beyond your toes.

Do enough of these and trust us, you'll feel it the next day! 

For variations, try holding the squat at the lowest point for up to 3 seconds at a time, or 'bounce' gentle at the midpoint on your back out of the squat. Feel free to pick up any weighted household item and hold it above your head whilst squatting if you're feeling hardcore. We like tins of beans or bottles of wine...not together.

Guaranteed to burn. You know, in a good way.

 

2) Lunges  
 

Similar to squats, lunges are so deceptively simple and as long as you're mobile, anyone can do them and take it as far as you want. Absolutely brilliant for toning your glutes, quads and hamstrings, lunges can also help engage your core as you keep your torso straight and upright whilst doing them.

With your feet shoulder width apart, step forward with your right foot and place it forwards and slightly to the right of centre. Then sink down by bending both knees and control the descent. The further you lunge outwards with that front foot, the harder the lunge will be. Repeat as many times for both legs until you feel it!

Variations to make it more challenging can include backwards lunges, side lunges and even jumping split lunges where you lunge forwards and from the bottom of that lunge you jump straight upwards, swap your legs and land in the new lunge and repeat. We like a challenge.  
 

3) Burpees  
 

These are an ideal home exercise and are perfect for getting your heart rate up (and ultimately releasing those endorphins and boosting your mood) if you've not got lots of time to spare and just want to bash out a quick workout. 

There's not a person alive that doesn't find burpees a real challenge, as you're fighting gravity every step of the way. The important thing is that no matter what speed you do them, or how many you do in one go, they're an insanely effective exercise - so even doing a handful in a few minutes will make you feel like you've done some serious good for yourself.

Begin by lying on your front, tummy on the floor, with your arms bent and ready in a press up position. In whatever way you can, perform a press up - whether that's on toes or knees doesn't matter at all - and once your arms are straight, hop your feet forward as close to your hands as possible, so your bottom is in the air. From here, straighten up and jump up in one fluid motion before bending down and placing your palms on the floor before gently hopping your feet back and lowering yourself back into the push up position.

That whole cycle is one burpee. 

With a bit of practice the movements become more fluid, and over time you'll find you can do more and more of them without needing a rest. 

When you're comfortable doing them, a great challenge is to time yourself for a minute and see how many you can do. Repeat the challenge every day for a week and you might surprise yourself!

Home Gym Equipment

Want to add another dimension to your home workouts? Gym equipment and accessories can make a whole host of new exercises possible, and there are absolutely loads of home friendly pieces of gym equipment that take up next to no space if you want to add further elements of resistance to your home exercise routine.


 

Kettlebells are the ultimate versatile pieces of home gym equipment and can really elevate your home workout routine. Available in a range of weights so you can ensure a challenge at your personal level, they're compact and so easy to store when you're done. 

With the big handle on top, kettlebells are designed for not only static toning movements like bicep curls, but also dynamic exercises like kettlebell swings that engage your entire body. 

Use a kettlebell during your squats by holding it close to your chest and underneath your chin (congrats, you just added 'Goblin Squats' to your routine), or pass the kettle bell through the gap in your legs every time you step forward into a lunge. 

The possibilities are pretty endless. Get creative if you find yourself cooped up inside your house with no chance to get out and about. 

4. Meditate  

Meditation is a mental exercise focused on clearing the mind and helping you find a moment of peace in an otherwise hectic world. 

It's so easy for us all to get caught up in toxic thought cycles to feel overwhelmed at both the struggles we face as individuals but also with ongoing developments globally. More so than ever we all need to find time to clear our heads and prioritise our health, both mental and physical, if we're to remain positive and happy. Everyone deserves a bit of inner peace!

Meditation is absolutely perfect for boosting your mood at home. You don't need any equipment, and can dedicate as much or as little time to meditation as you want.

There's definitely a knack to meditating and again, people spend their whole lives practising and mastering the techniques.

To get started, sit comfortably with your back straight. You can cross your legs if you want, but don't worry if it's not comfortable - you can have them out straight in front too.

Close your eyes and clear all thoughts from your mind (that's the entire challenge!) and just relax by noting how it feels to breathe in and out.

Your mind will wander but don't panic! Simply clear your thoughts and resume focusing on your breathing. This will hopefully show you how busy your brain can be, and how important it is to give it a break.

With practice and patience you'll find it easier to clear your mind over time, and you'll be able to remain in that clear headed, relaxed state for longer and longer.

Regularly meditating for between 10 and 20 minutes every day has huge benefits for your mood and wellbeing. Don't take our word for it, give it a go! You deserve it.

5. Chill Out

This last exercise to boost your mood isn't a physically exerting challenge like some of the others, but it's still something to take time and care over to properly enjoy the benefits. And to ensure you keep sane if you're in the middle of hectic times.

We all need proper down time and there's a big difference between mooching around at home and actually relaxing, switching off and chilling out properly to recharge your batteries.

If you're anything like us, you love cosying up in your home comforts. There's nothing better than getting into some super soft loungewear, whacking a clean set of your favourite bedding on your bed and settling down to watch your ultimate feel good movie.

Real relaxing actually takes effort, who knew?

Take it even further with some more pampering aimed at spoiling you that little bit extra.

Think along the lines of lighting candles, generously applying one of those face masks you've been saving, and sinking down into a hot bath filled with gorgeous bath concoctions that smell so good you'll only want to get out when the water is cold. 

Basically treat yourself to the ultimate self date and be as selfish as you want in fully unwinding. There's no way to not feel fabulous after a bit of TLC.

 

So there you have it, our 5 top exercises and activities you can undertake to boost your mood at home. 

Mental and physical wellbeing are so easily sidetracked in our busy, modern lives and it's so important to set aside time to recharge, even when your hectic schedule doesn't let you nip out to do the things you normally enjoy. 

Boost your mood and get back on track.