Fitness can be your greatest de-stressing ally

Preventive concepts are great in theory, but in reality we can’t always control our exposure to stress. That’s why the practice of alleviating stress is key.

Here are three exercises that will help ease your body and mind. Perform one set for 15 repetitions of each exercise, one side at a time, if called for.

Plank to lunge to knee up

Target glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, core, shoulders

Breathing instructions

Exhale through entire motion on the way up; exhale through entire return.

  • Begin in a straight-arm push-up position, but with hands directly underneath your shoulders.
  • Step your right foot to the outside of your right hand.
  • Shift your weight forward into your right foot, slowly dragging the top of your left foot forward, with the intention of standing up on your right leg.
  • As you’re about three-quarters of the way toward straightening your right leg, exert a little more force, pick up your left foot, and drive your left knee up into the air in front of you, allowing your right heel to lift off the ground slightly.
  • As your heel returns, step your left foot back behind you and slide it back to starting position on the ball of your foot. As you do so, replace your hands to starting position, and then step your right leg back to push-up position.

Do this 15 times with your right leg, then do another 15 with the left.

Straight leg push-up walkout

Target triceps, core, chest, shoulders

Breathing instructions

Exhale while walking your hands out; inhale while relaxed at bottom; exhale while pushing up and walking your hands back toward your toes and pulling your hips up; inhale at your peak hip height.

  • Begin at the bottom of a push-up, on your hands and toes, but allowing your quads and stomach to rest on the floor.
  • As you begin to exhale, peel your body off the floor by straightening your arms and pulling your hips up toward the ceiling at the same time.
  • While maintaining straight legs, walk your hands back toward your toes as far as you can.
  • Once you’ve reached your maximum, take a deep inhalation, and then begin to walk your hands away from your toes, allowing yourself to slowly come back down into starting position.

Bird dog under-crunch

Target core, lower back, glutes

Breathing instructions

Inhale as you crunch under; exhale as you extend your arm and leg.

  • Begin on your hands and knees.
  • Bring your left knee off the ground and forward toward your chest, as far as possible; at the same time, pick up your right hand and reach underneath you, trying to wrap it around your foot and attempting to touch the outside of your left ankle.
  • Slowly release your knee and hand, and extend your left leg behind you and your right arm in front of you.

Without touching down, go right into your next repetition.