Working out isn’t always just about feeling the burn. Sometimes, that dopamine buzz is the only thing you’re truly looking for when you roll out your mat. And it’s not just you that’s feeling a little extra pep in your step after a great class. Science backs it up: When you exercise, your body responds to the physical stress by releasing “happy endorphins” that give you an energy boost.
“A lot of neurotransmitters are released when we exercise—dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, to name a few—and they leave us with those happy feelings,” says Roxie Jones, Alo Moves instructor and certified personal trainer. “Spiritually and emotionally speaking, pushing through the hard barriers of training also builds mental fortitude that can translate to hard things outside of the workout, and that helps us believe in ourselves a little more!”
So, how about maximizing on the good feelings with workouts that we know will boost our mood? Yes, please. “We should always lean toward workouts that make us feel joy or physically good because we’re more likely to commit to them long-term and stay consistent,” Jones says. “It’s like picking your close circle of friends—you want to be around them because they make you feel happy!”
Combining fitness and fun is the name of the game. Here are five seriously joy-inducing workouts from Well+Good’s YouTube channel that will get the good vibes going in about 15 minutes or less.
Five workout videos that we promise will boost your mood
16-minute Afro Dance Combo
Well+Good Trainer of the Month Club’s Kiné Camara gets the beats moving and the blood pumping with this Afro dance routine. This quick combo features moves you can do at home while getting those hips moving and back popping. New to Afro dance? This one is beginner-friendly and simple to follow: Camara breaks down the moves in eight-count sequences. Dancing has been shown to decrease depression and anxiety, while also getting your heart pumping during a total-body workout.
‘Hip Hip Hooray’ Flow for Happy Hips
Yoga instructor Pilin Anice is keeping it fun and playful for this flow. Each move focuses on opening your hips, while giving joy to the joints. Carve out 16 minutes mid-day, set the vibe with a calming playlist, and lean into deep stretches, hip circles, and have fun. “It’s okay to smile!” Pilin says.
8-Minute Good Morning Pilates Stretch
Chloe de Winter from Go Chlo Pilates is helping start the day with a lovely Pilates stretch routine that will wake up your mind and body. Move over, mid-morning caffeine. Even a quick stretch or yoga session to start the day can have lasting impacts on your overall mental health hours later. Grab a mat, stay in your pajamas, and gently open up your back, hips, and spine with deep, full-body stretches.
10-Minute Beginner Boxing Workout
Gran a light set of dumbbells (one or two pounds), carve out 10 minutes, and get punching with trainer Michelle Sim. Featuring beginner boxing moves like the jab and cross and weaves, this quick boxing workout is high-energy and gets those mood-lifting hormones pumping.
15-Minute Low-Impact Rebounder HIIT Workout
What’s more fun than jumping on a trampoline? Turn it into an awesome HIIT workout, and this is a guaranteed good time. Colette Dong of The Ness takes us through a joint-friendly rebounder series that doesn’t compromise on sweat. Bouncing on a mini-trampoline will give you throwback nostalgia to a favorite childhood activity (hello, dopamine boost!) while getting your heart rate going. With just four moves, get ready to sweat and smile.