Winter plus the pandemic? No wonder so many of us have the case of the SADs. Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that’s linked to the change of seasons, typically beginning in the fall and continuing into the winter months. Most people experience periods of low concentration, sluggishness, depression, and an overall feeling of yuck. Fortunately, one of the best cures for boosting your meh mood is simple: getting a healthy dose of exercise. Thanks to endorphins and serotonin, ‘happy hormones’, that are released during exercise, you have a fighting chance of fighting SAD while also getting your body into tip top shape.
“While getting your heart rate up in any form can provide these benefits, I think it’s helpful to find something that you enjoy doing,” says Alissa Tucker, Master Trainer at AKT, tells SheKnows. “My personal favorite is to turn on a killer playlist and dance it out.” In addition to dancing it out, Tucker has put together a great 20-minute AKT CIRCUIT workout that is sure to get your heart rate pumping and shift your mood, no equipment necessary.
Repeat Each Circuit three times, 30 seconds for each exercise, one-minute rest between circuits.
- Plank Jacks
- Alternating Lateral Lunges
- Rotating Burpees
- Tricep Dip, Reach Across
- Alternating Push-Up, Arm Raise
- Heel Clicks
- Sumo Squat, Elbow to Knee Side Crunch
- Crab Switch Kicks
- Downward Dog Shoulder Press
- Externally Rotated Squat Jumps
- Bicycle Abs
Exercise Glossary (feel free to repurpose your favorite moves for later workouts or when you need a pick-me-up!)
Plank Jacks: Begin in a plank position. Shoulders over wrists and hips in line with your body. Jack the feet out and in like a jumping jack.
Modification: This can be done on your forearms or you can step alternating feet out and in instead of jumping both feet at the same time.
Alternating Lateral Lunges: Begin standing, feet parallel and together. Step one leg out to the side as far as you can comfortably and bend that knee, keeping your opposite leg straight and both feet and knees facing the front. Keep your weight in your heels and send your hips back as you keep your chest lifted. Step back together and alternate sides.
Rotating Burpees: Begin standing, feet hip-width apart or a little wider. Squat down, bringing your hands to the floor, and jump the feet back to a plank. Jump the feet back to the hands, coming through your squat then jump up and turn 180 degrees to repeat.
Modification: This can be done without the jump turn or you can step the feet in and back rather than jumping.
Tricep Dip Reach Across: Begin in a crab position, feet on the floor and fingertips facing straight forward. Bend your elbows coming into a tricep dip. As you straighten the elbows, extend one leg up into the air as you reach the opposite arm toward the lifted leg.
Modification: This can be done without the reach across or with hands-on a chair instead of the floor.
Alternating Push Up, Arm Raise: Begin in a high plank position, hands under the shoulders, fingers slightly rotated in about 45 degrees. Push up, bend your elbows bringing them back at a 45-degree angle then come up and lift one arm in line with your ear. Repeat on the other side. Try to stabilize your hips as you reach.
Modification: This can be done with the knees on the floor.
Heel Clicks: Begin standing in a wide parallel stance. Jump, bringing the legs together then land with the feet wide again trying to roll through your feet to soften your landing.
Modification: For slightly lower impact you can do regular jumping jacks instead.
Sumo Squat, Elbow to Knee Side Crunch: Begin standing, hands behind your head, feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart. Squat down as low as you can keeping your heels on the floor. As you stand, bring one knee up as you lean to the side, bringing your elbow to your knee. Repeat other side.
Crab Switch Kicks: Begin in a crab position, hips lifted, squeezing your glutes, fingertips facing front. Kick one leg up alternating sides, trying to pick up the speed.
Modification: You can slow it down, keeping one foot on the floor at all times.
Skaters: Begin standing on one foot. Jump to the side like you’re jumping over a puddle, keeping your opposite leg off the floor if you can. Then switch. Try to really travel side to side.
Modification: Step touch instead of jump.
Downward Dog Shoulder Press: Begin in Downward Dog, fingertips facing in. Bend your elbows, trying to bring the crown of your head to the floor, elbows facing out. To make it more challenging, walk the feet closer to the hands and lift your heels, keeping more weight in your hands.
Externally Rotated Squat Jumps: Begin in a wide, externally rotated squat, knees over toes, shoulders over hips. Jump and flick your feet out then roll through your feet as you land and come back into your squat.
Modification: You can do a squat pulse instead of jumping it.
Bicycle Abs: Begin laying on your back, hands behind your head, shoulders raised off the floor activating your abs. Bend one knee to your chest as you twist toward it and lengthen the opposite leg out parallel to the floor. Repeat on the other side.
Remember to stretch, drink some water and have a good cooldown — and don’t forget to have some fun.