During 2020’s quarantine, I found myself struggling to get motivated. Because I really had no daily routine, my workout routine was also non-existent. I was lucky to catch myself working out even once a week.
I made it my goal to get back into a routine, because my mental health is always better after a good workout. In fact, yours is too. An article by Health Direct states that exercise improves your mood by releasing chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin. It also reduces your stress/anxiety levels and improves your sleep.
For starters, it’s important to always stretch before and after any workout. Atipt.com says that stretching before a workout allows your muscles to loosen up and increases your range of motion, while a post-workout stretch decreases soreness. For me, stretching is relaxing and helps clear my mind of any stress.
At the start of every workout, I always take a run (whether it be outside on the road, or inside on a treadmill). Starting off with the goal of an eleven-minute mile is a good start, especially if you’re running outside. You need to leave time for possible breaks, slower paces, outdoor obstacles, etc. It is hard to get into the routine of running, and if you haven’t done it in a while, an eleven-minute mile is a good aim.
Eventually, after getting in the routine of running at least two or three times a week for about a month, you should shoot for an eight to nine-minute mile. Continuously running will help your body get more used to it, and you’ll be able to run farther distances in a shorter amount of time.
According to an article by Healthline, running is an effective form of cardiovascular exercise that strengthens your joints and improves your mood. Therefore, running at the start of your workout will physically and mentally prepare you for the rest of your routine.
Following a run, you should ask yourself what your body goal is, and base the remainder of your routine off of those goals. For example, my physical goal right now is to strengthen my core and legs as well as tone my muscles. I have a wide range of workouts that I do in order to achieve these goals.
A lot of my exercises are done on a yoga mat. It’s amazing to see the workout goals you can achieve within the comfort of your own home and using nothing but you and a mat.
I always start with a butt exercise. I begin with three sets of twenty donkey kicks on both sides. After this, I do three sets of twenty squats (with the last squat of each set being a hold squat). If I am feeling super motivated that day, I’ll add in some single-leg deadlifts.
I then go into my leg workout. I usually do three sets of one-minute wall sits (using the timer on my phone to make sure I'm reaching a minute). I then do three sets of lunges. I will sometimes do these with weights if I want it to be more intense, but it isn’t necessary. I will then go into calf raises to end this part of my routine.
My final workout is abs. I sometimes just find online ten-to-fifteen-minute workouts to do. They are simple, but effective. I recommend using Pamela Reif and/or Fraser Wilson’s workout videos for better exercises with faster results. If I don’t use a video, I do three sets of twenty crunches, sitting twists, raised leg holds, and bicycle crunches. At the end of each set, I add in a one-minute plank.
Although sometimes life gets busy, I try to prioritize time to exercise. An article by BetterHealth says that physical activity gets you in a healthier state of mind, improves your physical appearance, reduces the risk of developing certain diseases, and just improves your overall quality of life.
Given all these benefits, and many more, you should also prioritize working out!
I try to workout at least three times a week. I make time throughout the day either in between classes, in the early mornings or late evenings, or with any spare time that I have. I encourage you to do the same.
We all have the power to better our minds and bodies, and this is how I try to better mine. Good mental health and exercise go hand in hand.