One in five Americans deals with anxiety.
Thankfully, the stigma surrounding mental health has lightened, encouraging individuals to reach out, go to therapy, discuss medication, and begin to resolve how to live with anxiety in a way that is healthiest for them. Adding quick workouts to ease anxiety into your weekly (or even daily) routine is a tried and true way to cope with your mental health.
Movement encourages your body to change its scenery while releasing endorphins that scientifically boost your mood. While traditionally fitness is a physical activity, it’s a mental activity, too. Exercising for your mental health is a great way to accomplish more than one goal at a time — your body AND mind benefit from routine movement. This is by no means a replacement for therapy, medication, or other avenues that your doctor has guided you to, but it is a simple addition to your routine that can make a BIG difference.
Using exercise to ease your anxiety doesn’t mean running a marathon whenever you feel the blues hit. Workouts as short as 15-minutes can do a world of good for your hormones (and it has been shown to help you live longer). We’ve rounded up 10 workouts under 15 minutes that may just provide the boost you’ve been looking for.
Back to the Basics: Sun Salutations
Sun Salutations are a staple in yoga, often used to remove energy blockages. They also provide a simple (yet effective!) way to get your heart rate up. Moving through this short flow with Suzie will help you feel refreshed, energized, ready to take on the rest of your day.
Weekly Live Classes: Bodyweight Strength
You can pack a lot into 15-minutes! Kehinde uses this short bodyweight video to do two circuits of four different workouts, each allowing you to focus on movement instead of whatever is troubling you. And trust us, it won’t take long for you to get sweaty.
Core + Abs: Oblique Only
Sometimes it takes feeling physically strong to have a boost of mental confidence. In this Core + Abs workout, Greg focuses solely on your obliques. Need a reminder that YES, they are working? Put your hand on your oblique when a movement allows — it’s empowering to feel your muscle hard at work.
5 Minute Workouts: Medicine Ball Workout
Are you overwhelmed with worry but busier than ever before? Lita’s 5-minute medicine ball workout gets you up from your desk and won’t take your entire lunch break. You’re bound to have a short break between meetings eventually, what better time to blow off some steam?
Ten to Toned: Day 5 Full Body Flow
Paloma’s full body flow is intended to replace a rest day. With 8.5 minutes of flow (and 90 seconds intended for savasana), you’re being gentle with your body, just like we hope you are with your mind.
Football HIIT: 15 Minute Football HIIT Workout
Part of working out to ease anxiety is bringing the FUN to a short sweat session! Daniel’s use of a favorite pastime encourages you to get outside and get moving. Fresh air and exercise? That sounds like the best refresher for your mind.
Mobility: Kettlebell Mobility Routine
While working out is fun, the main purpose of keeping up with your physical health is functionality. Joe’s kettlebell mobility routine helps you understand how well your body can move for YOU — after all, it’s here to serve you, not the other way around. Take some time to block out the noise from your day and focus on Joe’s movements.
Yoga: 10 Minute Restorative Yoga
Need to calm your central nervous system? Whether your bedtime routine is missing a piece to the puzzle or you’re simply looking for a way to calm down, Alex’s restorative yoga flow will be able to help. She walks you through everything from breath to movement — all you have to do is listen!
It’s not an outrageous assumption to say that most of us are worried about our health. Dr. Nick gets that and is ready to help ease your worry, one video at a time. Each workout in the mobility challenge is only 5 minutes, meaning you can accomplish something new (making your mind go YAHOO!) whenever you have a moment to spare.
Release & Build: 3D sensation flow
Do you ever find yourself distracted while you’re working out? We’ve all been there! Kayla does a great job at talking you through each step and each thought of this sensation flow. In only 15-minutes, both your mind and body will feel refreshed.
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Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
About the author
Lily is a Brooklyn-based wellness enthusiast who never says no to trying a new fitness class. As a previous fitness coach and current health editor, she loves New York's health scene and can often be found in a hot yoga studio, attending a meditation seminar, or going for a long run in Central Park. Lily is originally from Oregon and moved to Brooklyn in 2017—one day when she makes it big, she'll spend her winters on the West Coast and her summers in New York's best borough.