Can’t concentrate? Have a quick workout
You have your go-to tricks for getting through an afternoon slump: a latte run, a chat with a coworker, cute animal videos. But the answer may be simply doing a quick workout. Research shows that even a short bout of moderate-intensity exercise can give you a boost.
In the study, published in Acta Psychologica, undergrads were split into two groups. One group jogged for 15 minutes, while the other relaxed, and of the two, the joggers felt more energetic. They also were sharper and faster on mental tests once the 15 minutes were up (possibly because of their energy boost).
Physical activity improves your circulation, says Holly Roser, a personal trainer and owner of Holly Roser Fitness in San Francisco. This means your blood delivers more oxygen and nutrients to your brain. So the next time you’re feeling sluggish, get moving with one of these short workouts, created by Roser. All you need to get started is 15 free minutes, a timer, and Advil to help with any post-workout soreness.
15-Minute Walking Workout
Warm-up (3 mins.): Power walk as fast as possible (if you can walk uphill, all the better).
Jumping jacks (1 min.)
Walking lunges (1 min.): Step forward with your right leg. Bend your knees into a lunge, making sure your knee doesn’t go past your front foot. Push off with your left foot and step it in front, lowering into a lunge. Repeat, alternating sides.
Side squats to the left (1 mins.): Standing with your feet together, step your left foot to the side. Bend your knees and lower into a squat position. Push back up and return to the starting position. Repeat.
Side squats to the right (1 min.): Standing with your feet together, step your right foot to the side. Bend your knees and lower into a squat position. Push back up and return to the starting position. Repeat.
Power walk (3 min.): Walk as fast as possible, pumping your arms.
Walk backward (2 mins.): Glance over your shoulder to see where you’re going.
Grapevine to the right (1 min.): Step your right foot to the side, cross your left foot in front of it, step your right foot to the side again, and cross your left foot behind it. Repeat.
Grapevine to the left (1 min.): Step your left foot to the side, cross your right foot in front of it, step your left foot to the side again, and cross your right foot behind it. Repeat.
Butt kicks (1 min.): As you jog, kick your feet as high as possible behind you.
15-Minute Stair Workout
Warm-up (3 mins.): Run up and down the stairs while pumping your arms quickly.
Upstairs lunges (2 mins.): Starting at the bottom of the stairs, lunge forward up the stairs, leaving a step between your back foot and front foot. Make sure your knee doesn’t go past your front foot and your back foot is straight. Repeat up the stairs, jogging back down to start over until time is up.
Step-down squats (2 mins.): Start at the top of the stairs. Take a step down and squat, tapping your butt on the stair behind you. Repeat down the stairs.
Side-steps up the stairs (2 mins.): Stand sideways with your feet pointed ahead. Step up, pushing through your heel. Once you reach the top of the stairs, jog back down and switch sides.
Skip a step (3 mins.): Jog up the stairs, taking every other step. Use your arms for balance and lean slightly forward. Jog back down.
Step-up squats (3 mins.): Facing the top of the stairs, squat with your feet hip-width apart. Take a step up and repeat.
15-Minute Body Weight Workout
Jumping jacks (2 mins.)
Squats (2 mins.): Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Bend your knees, engage your core, and lower into a squat. Push back up into the starting position.
Front lunges (2 mins.): Standing with feet hip-distance apart, step your right foot forward. Bend your knees and lower into a lunge. Make sure your knee doesn’t go past your front foot and your back foot is straight. Push back into the starting position. Switch sides.
Mountain climbers (1 min.): Start in a push-up position. Engaging your core and keeping your back flat, bend your right knee and bring it to your chest. Bring it back to the starting position and repeat with your left leg.
Gluteal bridges (1 min.): Lie on your back, feet hip-distance apart. Push through your heels and raise your hips high as you can. Lower back down to the ground and repeat.
Step-ups on a bench (2 mins.): Find a bench or a sturdy chair that’s lower than knee-height. Step up with your feet on the bench and switch sides.
Plank (1 min.)
Push-ups (1 min.)
Jumping jacks (1 min.)
Plank (1 min.)
Side lunges (1 min.): Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot to the side, foot pointing straight ahead, and bend your knee into a lunge. Push back into starting position. Repeat for 30 seconds; switch sides.