Fitness workouts

7 online workouts to boost your mood when you're feeling anxious and lethargic

The pool is closed and the gym’s on hold, so make space in your living room and take part in these online workouts, as tried and tested by the Stylist team.

You’re missing out on your commute, your breakfast meetings and your late evenings out, but there’s no excuse for missing out on exercise – especially when you can take part in a home workout courtesy of YouTube, Instagram Live or the websites of endless fitness influencers at any time of the day or night.

Working out at home is so important right now since we’re moving around a lot less than we normally do,” says Meriam Ahari, Stylist’s fitness editor. “Not only that, exercise has also been scientifically proven to have multiple mood-boosting benefits, including helping to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression by releasing endorphins and acting as a welcome distraction from everything else happening in the world right now.”

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Just as welcome is the fact that most online workouts are free and need little or no specialist equipment. So, whether you’re feeling stressed, bored or in need of an energy boost, get yourself into some comfortable workout clothing, clear the largest space you can find, click on a workout and get moving. That’s exactly what the Stylist team did, and here’s what we recommend.

Yoga with Adriene, tested by Stylist’s senior beauty writer Hanna Ibraheem

“Since being in self-isolation, my anxiety levels have been on the rise. From the moment I hit ‘play’ on this workout, I knew I was in for a supportive and calming 20 minutes – and that was thanks to the queen of YouTube yoga Adriene Mishler’s soothing voice. In the video I chose she gently guides you through a full-body check, opening tight muscles from your head to your toes to help you reconnect with yourself. Some moves like the tree pose felt difficult, and I’ll never be able to do a plank without shaking, but by the end my body felt warm and my mind and heart felt soothed.”

Will you try it again? “It’s a definite yes.”

Strength building with Strong Women, tested by Stylist’s producer/director Rosanna Cole

“Since swapping the office for my living room, I’ve not been feeling as active or mobile as usual, so I joined a live workout on Instagram by Strong Women (the fitness brand powered by Stylist). It was 45 minutes of strength-building resistance training led by personal trainer Alice Rose-Miller, with moves ranging from squats to planks to isometric push-ups – and no equipment necessary. It felt really reassuring to know I was staying active alongside other self-isolators and it helped me feel connected with the outside world.”

Will you try it again? “I’m committed. Plus, there’s a new workout with a different trainer every weekday at 1pm, so I won’t get bored.”

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Dance with Danielle Peazer, tested by Stylist’s fashion editor Polly Knight

“I was excited to try a dance workout from professional dancer Danielle Peazer. For me, dancing is when I feel most free and can shake away the stress I feel. The routine was fun, and even though I’m pretty sure I wasn’t doing the moves correctly, the joy of home workouts is that no one else is looking at you. I felt like Julia Stiles in Save The Last Dance when I was doing the workout – which isn’t a bad thing. The music was upbeat and got my heart rate going.”

Will you try it again? “I’m up for it, but I’ll be looking for a longer session next time.”

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Legs For Days with Ashley Graham, tested by Stylist’s digital fitness writer Chloe Gray

“Model Ashley Graham has created a workout series encouraging people to have fun and feel powerful. Her upbeat energy in this leg workout made me feel ready to get my sweat on, and thanks to her continuous encouragement, I smashed it (if I do say so myself). She really made me feel capable and strong, although I wish it had been a full-body workout, not just concentrating on one area. However, it’s short, doable and offers safe variations for everyone, including beginners and pregnant women, so I can see why it’s popular.”

Will you try it again? “Based on her uplifting attitude, yes. It’s very motivating.”

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PE with Joe Wicks, tested by Stylist’s acting deputy editor Sarah Pyper

“There’s gloom and doom all around, so I want a workout that’ll lift my spirits and PE With Joe does that in buckets. Intended to give the world’s kids a 30-minute live morning PE session while the schools are closed, Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach mixes crowd-pleasing kangaroo hops and ninja moves with enough lunges, squats and planks to keep adults engaged too. You definitely feel the effects on your muscles the next day. And, for extra feel-good factor, he’s donating the income he’s making from these YouTube workouts to the NHS.”

Will you try it again? “Every morning at 9am I’ll be doing my best crunches – and yes, kangaroo jumps too.”

FitnessBlender’s 10 Minute No Equipment Upper Body Workout, tested by Stylist’s senior beauty writer Hanna Ibraheem

“I’ve been using FitnessBlender’s channel during isolation. It’s got a great mix of workouts, from intense (and I mean INTENSE) no-equipment HIIT to strength training that leaves my arms burning (particularly this one). Kelly and Daniel, the faces and voices behind the videos, are soothing to watch and they don’t hide if they’re experiencing aches or difficulty while doing the workouts themselves - which I love, it makes me feel less bad for struggling.”

Will you try it again? Yes, I keep going back!

Jennis by Jessica Ennis-Hill, tested by Stylist’s digital news writer Hollie Richardson

“I love Jess Ennis-Hill and, I mean, who doesn’t want to train with one of our best Olympians? I started doing her HIIT workouts on her app, which is a series of videos to suit any level. Obviously, I went with beginner. But it really worked me (without being TOO) hard, and I felt great afterwards. Each video concentrates on a different part - so you can do upper and abs one day, lower and legs the next, and cardio the day after that. It’s simple. effective and a good all-rounder.”

Will you try it again? Absolutely. 

Images: Sarah Brick