February is the worst month for SAD but this 15 min anxiety-busting circuit can help

We all got through January, which seemed to be 1052 days long, but we're not quite in the clear yet though as February can be the worst for seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

The disorder means that sufferers feel lower during the darker, winter days and this can be worse in the second month, as we're no longer distracted by the excitement of a new year. In one survey, participants voted February the least favourite month in the entire year. Poor old Feb!

We all know exercise can be a great way to boost your mood and decrease stress levels, and international PT and wellness coach Rachael Sacerdoti has devised a 15-minute Anxiety Busting Circuit (ABC-15) to do just that.

"In an age where we are surrounded by a constant stream of interruption, ABC-15 has been designed to give you uninterrupted ‘me time’ each day," explains Rachel. "Exercise has long been a proven and powerful tool for improving your mood thanks to the release of multiple hormones, including serotonin and endorphins, that act as natural mood elevators and regulators."

"Not only will my ABC-15 routine free your mind of worry and stress, but it will also promote better sleep, boost your energy, and improve self-esteem. All the while using your key muscle groups for a thorough full-body workout," comments Rachael, founder of wellness programme It’s So Simple.

Well let's stop talking about it and get to it.

Repeat the below round three times, with a 30 second break in between each round:

  • 10 x Burpee to Shoulder Press (add weights for extra burn)

Stand with feet hip-width apart with your arms by your side holding a dumbbell in each hand. Lower into a squat, resting your dumbbells on the ground to the side of your feet. Quickly kick feet back and then immediately forward (like a bunny hop), pick up the dumbbells and return to standing. Then, drive the dumbbells up, rotating your palms so they are facing forward and continue raising the your arms until they are straight above your head. Take it slowly when lifting the weights above your head and lowering them and ensure your core is strong.

  • 12 x Frog Jumps

Start with your feet at a wide stance and gently lower yourself into a sumo squat position, then push up through your heels and jump explosively, raising your arms above your head.

  • 30 Skaters

With legs slightly wider than hip distance bring one leg behind the other at a slight angle similar to a curtsy lunge – you want the front leg to bend at a 90 degree angle. Repeat on the other side using your arms to swing to help build momentum.

  • 10 x Jump Lunges

Take this one slow if doing for the first time. Start with feet hip-width apart, jump your left leg forward and right into back lunge with both knees at a 90 degree angle. Repeat on both sides switching your legs in mid-air.

  • 30 x High Knees

Standing straight with your core engaged and feet hip-width apart, lift one knee up to your chest (you want to get the knees high, hence the name of this exercise). Alternate legs and increase to a running pace.

  • 30 x Plank Jacks

Think scissor jumps when in a plank position. Jump both feet out wide to each side and then jump back to the starting position. Keep your back flat with your core engaged and don't let your hips drop.

  • 10 x Broad Jump Burpees

With feet shoulder-width apart jump forward (swinging your arms to jump further) then place your hands on the floor and kick your feet back and then forward, before returning to standing. Gently jog backwards to the original position and repeat.

  • 20 x Ski Jumps

Stand to one side, feet together and spring off the ground jumping to the other side. Continue to jump from side to side ensuring you bend your knees and push up through your heels. Use your arms to give more power to your jump.

  • 20 x Knee Drives (each side)

Standing tall, bring one knee towards your chest and tap your foot back to the floor quickly, then switch legs. Engage your core and speed up your moves to get your heart racing.

Here is Rachel demonstrating the full routine if you need extra help figuring out how to do the exercises:

And to get the maximum mood boost from the workout, here are Rachel's top tips:

Offering a wealth of exercise routines on her Instagram, along with quick recipes and expert health and wellness tips, Rachael and her company It’s So Simple is fast becoming the method of choice for those looking to make long-lasting lifestyle changes.

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