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HIIT & Resistance Training at Home: Give Your Brain A Break

May 5, 2021 2 min read
Does Playing Only One Sport Exercise You Out Of Shape? Does Playing Only One Sport Exercise You Out Of Shape?

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    Lockdown life. Client proposals. Deadlines. Homeschooling. Lockdown life = stress. With stress and anxiety levels rising across the UK, more people are searching for the solution to bring balance to everyday life. You’re burning the candle at both ends, work performance is dropping and the tension at home is rising.

    Enter HIIT and resistance training. Time to escape the entrapments of the home office and get moving.

    Mental stimulation through HIIT

    If holiday days are done, deadlines are pressing, and fatigue is setting in, forget about those emails in your inbox and slot in a time-efficient HIIT workout to kick-start your endorphins.

    HIIT is effective at creating a large endorphin surge — the more intense the workout, the greater the effect. HIIT taps into the anaerobic system, which, when worked hard, stimulates a serious high in endorphin production. It’s well documented that these feel-good hormones lead to fewer feelings of stress and so HIIT is the ideal solution to combat a proper stressful day.

    HIIT is also linked to improved brain function, specifically around higher BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) levels. These are linked to balancing your mood and boosting cognitive function.

    Goal oriented individuals require a healthy dose of HIIT to unlock their purpose to tackle what the politics of home working life throw at them.

    Resistance training for stress relief

    The topic of mental health has exploded in recent years, with a number of high profile global sports stars openly discussing issues related to stress and depression. Stresses related to performance, influence of technology and the necessity to be strong role models have been cited as key issues amongst the sporting elite.

    This is everyone’s problem. We have your back.

    Resistance training reduces the effects of stress, anxiety and depression. Putting the muscles under extra resistance also increases the production of happy hormones (endorphins, dopamine and serotonin). Multi-joint weight exercises which recruit varying muscle groups, partnered with clear rest periods (i.e. circuits!), are particularly effective at triggering these endorphins.

    Not only does resistance training re-balance the mind, you’ll sleep better. Plenty of time to recharge to hit the next workout. HIIT training covers everything you need for a more balanced and focused mindset. By pushing multiple muscles to work, you are accessing greater gains for mind and muscles. After all, Serotonin > stress.

    Up the weight, slow the pace, push past plateaus

    Weightlifting evokes images of a spit and sawdust gym, with men throwing masses of iron about. In contrast, mindfulness and meditation is the cornerstone of any yoga retreat. You may consider both to be at two separate ends of a very different spectrum.

    Practising lifting and mindfulness together can combine to create a force for the good. Focus. Progression. Challenge. Lift more, stress less.

    Sweatband signature series:

    Schedule in this bodyweight HIIT circuit to target the core and refocus the mind.

    35s exercise intervals with 15s rest (complete the entire circuit for a longer 35s rest), repeat x3;

    • Jumping squats
    • Mountain climbers
    • Squat drops
    • Hand release push-up
    • Lateral squats
    • Burpees

    If stressing, try out this full-body dumbbell workout:

    Max reps for 50s per exercise with 25s rest, and 45s rest after the fifth exercise. Repeat x2 more times and try to match rep counts from the first circuit:

    • Reverse lunge with overhead press
    • Sit-up with press
    • Goblet sumo squat
    • Hammer press to shoulder press
    • Renegade row to reverse mountain climber

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