Lindsey Emery

Easy Workout Routines to Boost Your Mood

Get moving and smile on! Studies show that exercise really improves your mood. Whether you’ve got 10 or 20 minutes, we have a smile-inducing circuit for you.

Got 10 Minutes? Kick Some Booty!

“If you’re in a bad, mad-at-the-world kind of mood, you need a workout that lets you blow off some steam, like boot camp,” says trainer Ellen Barrett, creator of the Barefoot Cardio DVD.

Try doing each of these drills in two minutes or less, 20 reps each, alternating sides when appropriate.

Kick and clap

Kick and clap:

1. Stand with feet together, arms by sides. Kick right leg in front of you and clap hands under thigh; release.

2. Kick left leg in front of you and clap hands under thigh.


Plyo skier squat:

1. Stand with feet slightly apart, elbows bent by sides, fisted hands in front of chest.

2. Squat, bending both knees 90 degrees, keeping knees behind toes, and hinge forward slightly from hips (as if skiing). Return to standing position and repeat.

3. On the 20th squat, jump straight up and land softly with knees slightly bent.

Alternating lunge lift:

1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms by sides. Lunge left leg behind you -- bending both knees 90 degrees -- as you lift arms overhead, palms up.

2. Lower arms and step back to start. Switch legs and repeat.

Side kick:

1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and elbows bent at your sides, fisted hands in front of chest.

2. Lean torso slightly to left as you kick right leg straight out to side at hip level.

3. Return to center; switch legs and repeat.

Jumping jack:

1. You know the drill!

Got 20 Minutes? Unwind With Yoga

“When you’re feeling blue, sometimes all you need is an easy, stress-free workout to open things up,” says Barrett. Perform this whole sequence on one side, holding each pose for two minutes. Switch sides and repeat moves. Breathe evenly and calmly during each pose. A yoga mat is optional.

Seated hamstring stretch:

1. Sit on mat with legs crossed, back tall, and abs engaged.

2. Extend right leg diagonally in front of you (half-V) and bend left knee, bringing sole of left foot to inside of right thigh.

3. Place right palm on floor beside right hip and lean torso forward, reaching left hand to outside of right foot (or as far as you can without clutching the knee).

Reverse dancer stretch

Reverse dancer stretch:

1. From the seated hamstring stretch, sit upright and swing left arm back over to left side. Plant palm on floor behind you, with your fingers pointing away from your body.

2. Inhale as you point right toes and reach right arm straight overhead, palm in. Then slowly lean back, pressing into left palm, as you lift hips off floor and reach right arm behind you, forming a line from right toes to right fingers.

3. Look up toward right elbow.

Simple twist

Simple twist:

1. From the reverse dancer stretch, exhale as you lower hips to the floor and sit upright.

2. Keeping left leg still, bend right knee and bring right leg over left leg, so right foot is beside left knee.

3. Place right palm on floor behind right hip, and inhale as you lengthen spine. Exhale as you twist torso to right, placing left elbow outside of right knee and looking over right shoulder.



1. From the simple twist, rotate torso back to center and bring soles of feet together, bringing knees out to sides.

2. Grab feet with hands and hinge forward from hips, keeping your back straight.

3. Press knees toward the floor.

Straddle bend

Straddle bend:

1. From the butterfly, extend legs diagonally in front of you, forming a V.

2. Reach arms as far forward in center as possible. Bend knees slightly, if needed.

Lindsey Emery is a freelance writer and co-creator of Formerly the senior fitness editor of Fitness, she now contributes to Self, Shape and Women's Health.


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Health - Easy Workout Routines to Boost Your Mood