The current crisis around the coronavirus has left me feeling exceptionally stressed and anxious lately—which I’m sure I’m not alone in.
As uncertainty abounds, I find myself having trouble sleeping, concentrating, and focusing my energy during working hours. As a result, my productivity has suffered in recent weeks.
I needed a way to control my extra energy, and considering studies that show aerobic activity helps alleviate depression and anxiety, my plan of action became clear: I needed to exercise more.
The caveat: It had to be an activity I could do at home. Going to the gym was out of the question, and with shelter-in-place laws still standing, being outdoors was a no-go. As a result, I started looking for realistic ways to be more active while staying home.
I tried a variety of home workouts: I experimented with body weight exercises, yoga, and Pilates—but I still found myself feeling squirmy with excess nerves and energy at the end of the day. It wasn’t enough.
The light bulb moment
While scrolling through social media, I saw a friend share she recently bought a mini trampoline to wear out her kids while they were stuck at home with her. It was a light bulb moment for me. I decided I needed to try out the medium myself. By the end of the day, I ordered JumpSport’s fitness trampoline.
So far, I’ve noticed a huge reduction in stress post-exercise—and I’m actually enjoying the time spent doing these workouts.
What’s more, my afternoons are now more focused and productive with that excess energy burned off, and I’m actually falling asleep at a normal hour again.
There’s science behind why the trampoline is so effective for stress reduction and overall health improvements: A study from NASA showed that jumping on a trampoline increases cellular oxygenation; another study showed that it can produce a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure values.
However, I realize that trampoline exercise isn’t for everyone, which is why I’d encourage others to experiment with different ways to channel their nervous energy when feeling overloaded during lockdown.
The at-home alternatives
If a mini trampoline isn’t the most viable or interesting enough option for your home workouts, consider trying these other anxiety-reducing techniques.
1. Bursts of meditation
Apps such as Calm have guided meditations that can help you refine your ability to quiet a busy mind. This practice can positively impact your brain. Harvard researchers found that when looking at fMRI images of patients’ brains who regularly practiced meditation, activational changes were noted in the part of the brain called the amygdala, which controls emotions.
2. Circuit training
Create a series of four or five different exercises that you do on a loop for a certain time range. You’ll get a full-body workout with minimal equipment. Research indicates that this type of high-intensity exercise “improves the social anxiety disorders and positively affects psychological and physical health of participants.”
3. Breathing exercises
Deep, patterned breathing is an easy way to slow down frantic thoughts and feelings of anxiety. Harvard Medical recommends deep breathing practices for a variety of stress-reducing benefits.
4. Jumping rope
Breaks throughout the day to do this low-cost exercise is good for heart health and quickly working off excess energy. Moreover, research shows that this aerobic activity is easier on the knees than running and burns energy more quickly.
Find a practice that helps reduce your stress and manages anxiety during this difficult time so you can get back to your most productive work self. Maybe it’s on a mini trampoline, maybe not. The important thing is that it fits your needs, and leaves you feeling refreshed from burning off all that excess energy.
Kaleigh Moore is a writer and consultant for companies in the SaaS industry.