A lunch hour allows the average man 27 minutes of actual gym time. This stress-busting workout takes under half an hour.
Lift away stress
Why you do it: “Intense exercise releases the stress hormone cortisol,” says conditioning coach and elite personal trainer Dax Moy. “But doing light weights at high reps releases less cortisol than any other type of workout release, so you’re ready for the afternoon.”
How? Raise 4kg weights up from your sides until your arms are overhead. Repeat x100. Takes 5 mins.
Twist away pain
Why you do it: “This is an efficient way of stimulating your body to release endorphins,” says Moy. These natural chemicals fight stress and even act as pain killers. Let’s twist again. Well, if it worked for Chubby Checker…
How? Still holding your hand weights, twist your body left to right, as shown. Repeat x100. Takes 4 mins.
Row yourself happy
Why you do it: “This creates a high muscular respiratory demand, making your body produce the neurotransmitter noradrenaline,” says Moy. “This stimulates serotonin production in the brain, lifting your mood.”
How? Lean forward and perform a rowing action, alternating your left and right arms. Do 100 reps in total. Takes 4 mins.
Reach for calm
Why you do it: “This gives you a further serotonin boost, roughly equivalent to what you’d get from spending an evening with friends, and will dampen any remaining stress hormones,” says chartered sports and exercise psychologist Paul Russell.
How? Lean forward. Pause then drive your pelvis forward until you’re standing. Repeat x80. Takes 4 mins.
Stretch and smile
Why you do it: This encourages your pituitary gland to secrete beta endorphins – a second wave of molecules to fight anxiety levels and induce euphoria, says Russell.
How? Bend forward till your palms are on the floor. Walk on your hands until you are in a press-up position. Now drive your pelvis down and look up. Reverse the move. Repeat x50. Takes 10 mins.
Words by Jon Axworthy & Rob Kemp. Illustrations by Jason Pickersgill
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