Being stuck inside, starting at the TV, your family, your computer, or the wall is enough to drive anyone crazy. With the COVID-19 pandemic raging across India, most people are stuck indoors—where the folks in the US were a year ago. It’s a full lockdown. Since dealing with the onslaught of stress because of the virus, I know it’s difficult to focus on much of anything but the numbers and the news.
That’s why this article is going to give you ways to destress and move a little more to pump those feel-good chemicals, endorphins, around your body. We’re just gonna dive right in, so grab some coffee or tea, get comfortable, and read on.
Let’s face it, a good squat is a good squat. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a free mind at the end of an exercise routine. That being said, this article’s first part will be about yoga poses that are relaxing. If you need a five-minute break, flow through this quick segment for a bit of muscle relaxation and mind clearing.
***Remember to breathe very deeply, filling your lungs and belly with air, as you move through these poses, and keep your mind focused on what you’re doing, how your body is moving, and how your muscles are moving. Be clear of everything else.
Start by lying on your back and bring your knees up, keeping your shins at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Keep your feet flexed, toes up. Spread your arms straight out on either side. Slowly, while keeping your knees together, drop them to one side so they almost touch the floor as you bring one arm over to touch the opposite shoulder and turn your head that way. Return to center and repeat on the other side. Do each side twice.
Straighten your legs back out, and extend your arms above your head. Push one foot down and the opposite hand up slowly. Hold for a few moments then repeat on the other side. Do each side twice.
Slowly bring your knees into your chest then lift your feet to the ceiling. Use your hands to grab the outsides of your feet and gently pull toward your torso. Hold for a few moments then return to a lying-down position. Repeat.
Slowly rise to sitting with your legs straight in front of you. Cross your legs, put your hands on your knees, close your eyes, and focus on your breath.
Now for the heart-pumping part of this article. These moves will get your blood flowing and your brain active! Best of all, you can complete this circuit in about ten minutes.
***Remember to focus on your form. That’s most important to avoid injury. When needed, I’ll add items to remember.
Start by putting on some music you like and dancing around the room for 2-3 minutes (one song that’s not a six-minute behemoth like Bohemian Rhapsody). This is to warm up your muscles and get your heart ready for a little pump action. It also helps avoid injury from working cold muscles.
Once you’re warm, here are a couple of circuit options:
- 10 jumping jacks – arms and legs together then jump and bring your arms up over your head and your feet out to each side, bounce, and bring your arms and legs back. Repeat.
- 10 chair squats – feet shoulder width apart, hands by your sides, and stretch back like you’re going to sit in a chair that isn’t there as you bend your arms parallel with the floor at the shoulder. Lower yourself until your thighs are as parallel to the floor as they can be. Come back to standing, drop your arms back to your sides, and squeeze your butt. Repeat. ***Do not let your knees go in front of your toes. Your shins should stay horizontal to the floor and your abs should be pulled in, not pushed out.
- 10 lunging kneels on each leg – take a large step forward, enough so your feet are far apart but are still flat on the floor. Keeping your front knee over the ankle, bend the back knee and lower it toward the ground as you raise your arms over your head. Bend until your knee almost touches the ground and press back up, bringing your arms back down. Do this ten times then change legs. ***Once again, don’t let your knee come over your toe.
- 10 boat lifts – lay on your back, legs out straight and arms down by your sides. Slowly lift your legs and arms to a 45-degree angle. Hold for a moment. Back down.
Now stretch because you’re done!
- 15 pushups – pretty sure everyone knows how to do these, but one thing to remember is to keep your hands just wider than your shoulders.
- 15 dolphins – lay on your stomach and clasp your hands under your face, going into a plank position. Push back with your arms, lifting your butt into the air. Come back to plank position. ***Be sure to keep your elbows under your shoulders when you’re in the plank.
- 15 donkeys each leg – get on your hands and knees. Lift one knee off the floor a bit and pull it up toward your face, squeezing your abs tightly. Kick straight back as hard as you can then pull your knee back in. Repeat.
- 15 toe taps each leg – pushup position, arms fully extended. Move one leg out to the side, tap your toe on the floor, and move it back. Repeat.
Now stretch because you’re done!
You can pick and choose what you’re in the mood for, but any of these will work to break up a day. Plus, you’re getting a little blood flowing, and you’ll feel better for it later.