Images: Julian Stout
Times are rough, right?! Something doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s just a slow day because you went a little hard on the Rioja and tapas last night? Have no fear. I’ve got 5 simple exercises to do at home get you back on your A-game, feeling great, and ready to take on That Spanish Life!
Let’s be real for a second- part of you is already protesting that workout. You may think that working out is terrible, and I know you have already started thinking of excuses not to get moving.
But just remember that working on your fitness is one of the fastest ways to get that heart pumping and endorphins going. Soon into a workout, you’ll feel on top of the world! Ten minutes a day can change your entire attitude no matter how much Rioja is in play.
So, here are some 5 super simple exercises that will get you out of that slump and elevate your mood!
1. Squat Kick
30x (15 right 15 left)
Sometimes you have to kick some stuff to feel better! Releasing tension, even if you are not mad about something, is a great way to turn your mood around. Plus, with enough added squats building that perfect-peach booty is something else to smile about.
Stand with your feet pointed forward, about hip-width apart. Start with a basic squat, keeping your heels on the ground sticking your butt out. Get DEEP into those hips. As you lift your body back up, lift your right leg, and push kick to the right side (push kick is knee bent, knee straight, knee bent). Put your right leg back down, squat again, and go to the left.
Extra points for some “POW, JAM, KIAAAHHAAA!!!” Or make any other action movie sound effects while you do these exercises!!
2. Standing Reverse Lunge with a Twist!
20x (10 right 10 Left)
We all love a good twist. These exercises can be great for getting bad moods out and keeping you moving. If your body does not like standing lunges you are welcome to modify to the knees and stick to one side.
In a standing position with your feet under your hips, take the right leg back, into a reverse lunge. Your front knee should be in line with the front ankle
*note if the knee is not over the ankle then adjust your back foot, usually you will have to step further back!
Come into a low lunge, your back knee bent. At the bottom of the lunge (the most challenging point), take a twist towards your front leg and open the arms to hug the wall on that side. Bring your arms back to the centre and go for the left leg.
3. Plank-Downward Dog
It’s no surprise that exercises in which you hang upside down will get those endorphins pumpin’ into the bloodstream. And a downward-facing dog is our introduction to getting all inverted.
Start in a plank position. Wrists are under shoulders and legs are straight out. Is your core engaged? It sure is, because that’s the best way to protect your back. Imagine that I am going to put a nice beautiful cava glass on your back, and you have to hold it straight and steady enough to keep it from spilling.
Start the movement from your hips, as you exhale, raise them up and back. Take your eyes back towards your feet, and stick that butt up in the air for your downward-facing dog. Press your heart though, and stretch those shoulders and legs.
Inhale and come back, raising the heels as if it’s a wave and someone’s lifting your hips. Shift your weight forward, bring the shoulders back over the wrists, and go back to your plank.
Move with the breath, exhale back to downward-facing dog, inhale to plank if you want to take a break in one position for a few breaths, totally ok.
*Note: if your wrists are not a fan of planking or downward-facing dog, you can drop to your forearms for a forearm plank and do the same process!
4. Cobra Pushups
Opening your heart is going to be a great way to not only get a stretch for the shoulders but also allow your lungs to open. Breathe deeper and you’ll get out that hangover stickiness or release the tension from being shackled to technology all day.
Lay all the way down on your belly. Put your hands under your shoulders and hug hug hug those elbows into the sides. Your elbows and sides are going to be B.F.F.’s for this whole thing.
Press into the hands and raise into either baby cobra or a full one, the weight should be on the hands. Keep the shoulders away from the ears, and keep your neck super long. Lower down the same way, keeping weight in the hands.
The arms are doing all the work, and the heart and back are getting a ton of benefit!
5. Single-Leg Glute Bridge
30-second pulse each side
What could be better than an all-in-one heart opener, balance pose, and butt exercise?
Balance is a great way to create a bit of grounding in the body, test your limits, and gain a bit more confidence. Plus, give me any exercise laying down without shoes, and I’m THERE.
Start laying down on your back. Bring your feet together flat on the floor as close to your glutes as possible. Lift your hips into a glute bridge! Take the next step and raise one leg, pulse for 30 seconds. Lower it KEEPING YOUR HIPS UP and switch sides.
AND FINALLY… BONUS….!
BONUS: Most Simple Exercise Ever…Legs up the Wall!
This pose is one of those low stakes inversion poses that will get the blood flowing with minimal effort. It’s an ample space to relax in, and if you are not feeling up to a full workout, hang out there for 5-10 min. I promise you’ll start to feel like a powerful goddess ready to take on the world.
Find a flat piece of wall. Align your body to where your glutes are pressing against the wall, and stick your legs up. You can hang out here for 5-10 minutes or until you are ready to get moving again!
Exercise at Home or with Me!
As you can see, it’s super easy to get in some light exercise at home that will make you feel better, especially this time of year. But, if you’re in Madrid and would like to get out of the house to get in your exercise, check out Artio Fitness in Malasaña. I’d love to see your smiling (or grimacing…!) face there.
Or, if you’re a nature lover like me, you can always explore all of Madrid’s amazing outdoor spaces, too. Walking in nature is definitely one of the best mood-enhancing exercises you can do!!
Stay well, chicas!!