By Robin Barnes, special to the New Orleans Saints
Let's be honest, with the stress and uncertainty that the pandemic has caused, exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do. I hear you, but studies have shown that cardio exercise helps to increase well-being and mental health. Here's the best part - you don't need to do a long or intense workout to achieve these benefits. Only about five minutes of cardio is needed to begin to relieve stress and anxiety.
Try adding in just five minutes of movement each day. I hope it makes you feel more empowered to carry on with your day.
Ready? You got this! Set your timer - 45 seconds for each interval:
- Start with feet shoulder-width apart, back straight, chest up, and shoulders relaxed.
- Squat downwards until thighs are parallel with the ground.
- Straighten legs to return to start.
STATIONARY ALTERNATING REVERSE LUNGE:
- Start with feet together, standing tall (facing a mirror, if possible).
- Keep the knee of your stable leg over your foot, then take a large step backward with your moving leg.
- Lower your hips until your front thigh is parallel with the floor.
- Return to a standing position, then repeat on the other side.
- Take your time and make sure your front knee doesn't track over your front toe.
- Lay on a mat, facing upwards with your knees bent and feet planted hip-width apart.
- Push down through the soles of your feet, contracting your glutes, driving your hips upward.
- Return your hips to the floor.
- Start in a hand plank position (shoulders over wrists).
- Bend your elbows back on a 45-degree angle as you lower your chest to the ground.
- Stop when your chest lightly taps the floor.
- Press your hands into the ground and press yourself back to plank position.
** Modification: Push-ups can be done from the knees rather than on your toes.
- Start in a high plank position - with your hands directly under your shoulders and your feet extended behind you.
- Alternate driving one knee forward at a time, keeping hips low, core engaged in a firm plank position.
You did it! Great job! Now for the most important part - DON'T FORGET THE COOL DOWN! Stretching is so important and ensures you can enjoy another workout.
Obviously, the best motivation every Monday is a Saints win on Sunday but the NFL season only lasts so long. Motivation Monday will be a year-round feature on NewOrleansSaints.com as the Saints and Ochsner recognize we all have been through a lot the past two years and we want to do our part to improve the health and wellness of our Saints family. If you have any ideas or questions for our experts we want to hear them. You can email us at SaintsLiveWell@saints.nfl.com.