You spend all day getting stuff done. Between errands, work, and all the opposite little tasks that clog up your to-do list, while you get home at night, all you really need to do is loosen up—although you promised yourself you’d head to the gym.
Sure, you recognize exercise is essential for supporting your overall health, but so are sleep and chill time, so the choice appears to be made for you already: Stay at home in your cozy couch and you will hit the gym tomorrow… unless you are really busy again.
To break out of this cycle, Julia Brown, Nike Well Collective trainer, has some advice—and it involves letting go of this “all-or-nothing” mindset toward exercise. It’s easy: Instead of waiting for when you’ve gotten a free hour (so, perhaps never?) to workout, try taking just a few 10-minute exercise breaks to separate up your day.
“The all-or-nothing mentality often discourages people from exercising if they can not commit to a full workout, but short workouts provide a manageable start line, and we love start line,” Brown says.
Easily fitting into your schedule is not the only good thing about exercise breaks, though—they can even support your mental health, in line with licensed psychologist Mariel Buqué, PhD.
“Any movement is useful in terms of relieving stress,” Dr. Buqué says. “The body doesn’t function well in stagnation, especially if we’re perseverating in our thoughts and feeling frozen and stuck in difficult emotions. Even light stretches have been known to extend our capability to feel emotionally lighter and clear our minds.”
The overall key to exercise breaks is making them easy to execute. That means you should be dressed and able to go in clothes which are breathable, versatile, and comfy enough to wear all day—just like the Nike Feel Good Collection, which is made to maneuver with you thru whatever your day holds. Grab yourself an on-trend matching set for some extra motivation, and keep reading to learn the way exercise breaks can support your mental health.
1. Exercise breaks can assist relieve stress
POV: You’re feeling overwhelmed at work and want to take a step back for a second. Automatically, your hand pulls out your phone and next thing you recognize that “quick break” has become a 25-minute doomscrolling sesh.
Instead of reaching on your phone as your default response when your mind needs a break, Dr. Buqué recommends spending 10 minutes (you’ll be able to even set a timer) doing any exercise that involves deep respiration. Tai chi, yoga, and shadowboxing are just a few of her favorites, but any exercise that emphasizes breath work can assist with stress within the short term and emotional regulation in the long run, she says.
“Movement can actually be a extremely healthy and proactive stress reliever,” Dr. Buqué says. “When we move our bodies, we increase the body’s endorphins, that are known to have a function in increasing our feelings of well-being. So after we move our bodies, we release stress, but additionally increase our capability to feel well.”
2. They make you are feeling completed
When you finish a task, regardless of how big or small, it makes you are feeling good about yourself, right? Turns out that is not only a you thing—there’s science behind it. When you accomplish a goal, your brain releases dopamine (aptly nicknamed the “reward molecule”) into your body, causing you to feel blissful and invigorated.
“For me, completing short workouts or getting any movement in any respect in my day is a win,” Brown says. “Not only do I feel a way of accomplishment and a lift in my self-esteem, but endorphins are released, that are natural mood enhancers.” Top off those endorphins with a success of dopamine, and you will really be feeling that exercise-induced mood boost.
3. They can provide you with an energy boost
Move over afternoon coffee, there is a latest energy boost on the town that is so much cheaper than that giant vanilla latte (read: it’s free). Exercise breaks can even help boost your energy while you’re feeling the three p.m. slump settle in.
While you’re employed out, your body produces more mitochondria—the a part of your cells that turn things like glucose and oxygen into energy on your body to make use of. More mitochondria means more energy, and even just a fast burst of movement can kickstart these processes.
As you are giving your body this cellular support, you will in turn be supporting your overall well-being because, as Dr. Buqué notes, it’s all connected. “Our mind and body are one entity, one system,” she says. “The mind and body work in collaboration with each other, and so with the intention to stay healthy, we’ve got to use as much attention to our mental health as we do our physical health.”
Want to offer an energizing exercise break a try? Brown suggests a body weight HIIT circuit. Pick five of your favorite exercises (she recommends starting with squats, push-ups, side lunges, planks, and jumping jacks), and do every one for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds of rest. Repeat the circuit twice, and you then can go about your day with a little bit more energy, a little bit less stress, and a mood-boosting sense of accomplishment.