The dreaded slump. No one escapes these ups and downs; it’s a consequence of being human. The trick is to stop it from becoming a habit, because then it’s harder to break. The good news? There are ways to quickly escape the blues (and the couch). The solution is to work on your mood, which directly affects your perceived energy and stress levels and motivation. Here are some quick tricks to get you back into the workout groove:
Power up the playlist. As you might have guessed, we aren’t talking Enya here. You need upbeat tracks that are full of motivation and fast beats. If you’re a type-A personality, you could spend some time crafting the perfect power playlist, but if you’re pressed for time, you can rely on Apple Music or Spotify to prepare your workout winners for you. Music is proven to have plenty of health benefits, and it’s one of the fastest ways to transform your mood. It can help fend off depression, and it has been shown to improve blood flow in the same way that statins do. It can also lower your levels of stress-related hormones like cortisol and even ease pain! In short, music is the mood-booster that we all need and deserve. And if the music doesn’t help you get through your workout, you can try meditation. It also has a host of benefits, and it produces brain changes that promote positive emotions and reduces negative ones, and it can help reduce cortisol, which is a hormone that’s released in response to stress.
Head outside for 20 minutes. Even if the weather isn’t great. Science has shown that it lowers your stress levels, blood pressure and heart rate, but even more importantly, the hit of Vitamin D and fresh air will boost your mood and prime you for some exercise later. Sunlight can also trigger your natural serotonin levels, which can lift your mood and help you become more focused and productive. The Journal of Environmental Psychology has shown that we have a natural desire to be connected with nature that makes us happier. If you can’t do it at home, take a sanity break at work, and go for a walk outside for 20 minutes. You’ll arrive back refreshed, mentally and physically, and ready to take on a workout. Don’t forget to take your pooch with you if you can – you’ll both benefit.
Get into downward dog. Yip, that’s right – yoga. Stretching, in general, can help boost your mood quickly and improve your flexibility (and lessen your risk of injury). Stretching helps release neurochemicals like serotonin in the brain, which is the primary chemical associated with joy and elation. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine examined the anxiety levels and moods of people who practiced yoga for an hour three times a week. Yoga practice is associated with increased GABA levels, an amino acid and neurotransmitter that may help reduce anxiety, according to Chris Streeter, a neurologist, psychiatrist, and the lead author of the study. The good news? You don’t need to do hours of yoga to reap the mood-boosting benefits; just 10 minutes a day can help improve your outlook, but the key is consistency.
Right, ready to smash your next workout now? If you’re looking for a training partner that will help you get into the best shape of your life (and will do all the planning and exercise routines for you), we’ve got the answer. Sign up now to join The Movement Empire for fool-proof, proven results at a fraction of the price you’d pay for a regular gym membership!
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