It’s 3 p.m., and your eyes are drooping. You’re slumping further and further down in your chair, and, yeah, your laptop with work tasks is open, but you’re really just scrolling Instagram because it’s all your brain can handle.
Unless you have the freedom to do as the Spaniards and Italians do and take a nice little siesta, it might be time to snap out of it. Are we talkin’ coffee, tea, energy drink, or soda? Nope! We’re talking about movement.
Doing some afternoon exercise is a great way to re-energize and re-focus for the rest of your day. While digesting lunch and staying in one position for many hours might have slowed your heart rate and and blood flow throughout your body, a quick mid-day boost can send a message to your body and brain to wake up and get back into action.
“When we talk about exercising for energy, we are focused on introducing strain to the body with muscle activation, which gives us an increased heart rate, and enables the body to release endorphins,” Jonathan Leary, DC, a chiropractor, expert in exercise science, and founder of Remedy Place, previously told Well+Good. “Endorphins are those feel-good hormones that are released as a result of exercise and important components for an energizing workout. They are responsible for keeping you awake and also contribute to positive changes in your mental health.”
The way to get those literal good vibes flowing is with movement that introduces a constant amount of strain on the body. You can exercise for energy for up to an hour (after an hour, the reverse happens—you start to tire yourself out). But today, we’ve got a bite-sized workout designed to get you moving and wake you up in just 14 minutes.
In this new mid-day workout from East River Pilates teacher Brian Spencer, you’ll specifically work on activating the muscles that may have gotten shortened or inactive from a desk job. You’ll start with a series of hip hinges meant to open up your chest and lengthen your hamstrings—the perfect counter to staring at a screen (and potentially rolling your shoulders in) for hours on end.
Squats and side steps will help get your heart rate up next. Then you’ll do core and glute activation on the mat with a series of bird dogs, hip thrusts, crunches, and more. Round it out with some full-body stability moves, and just like that, your heart is pumping and your blood is flowing. Afternoon slump? I don’t know her!
“Skip that afternoon coffee and go ahead and get some Pilates!” Spencer says.