15 Exercises You Should Try When You're Too Depressed To Get Out Of Bed

woman lying in bed face down
PHOTO: ALEX BOYD / UNSPLASH

Depression can make you feel mentally and physically drained for seemingly no reason in particular (thanks, brain!), making even getting out of bed seem like an Olympic feat. 

While medications and therapy can certainly help alleviate your depression symptoms, exercise has also proven to be a helpful, successful way of boosting your mood, as it gets your blood flowing so you don't feel as lethargic while improving your longterm brain health and function over time.

Drawing upon a handful of pro-mindfulness yoga and Pilates poses, these 15 simple exercises can be done in bed, on the couch, on the floor, or wherever your next depressive episode may take you.

corgi doing leg lifts
PHOTO: IMGUR
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Leg Lifts

What it does: Tones and strengthens your glutes and lower abs. 

How to do it, per Muscle & Fitness Magazine: Lie on your side with your legs on top of one another, extending the arm closest to the ground and placing the other hand on your hip. Raise your top leg as high as it can go, then back down. Repeat 10 times, then flip over to your other side and do your other leg.

Take Shallow Breaths
PHOTO: MAN REPELLER
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Take Shallow Breaths

What it does: Strengthens your diaphragm and relieves stress.

How to do it, per Man Repeller: Inhale deeply through your nose and release any tension in your neck and shoulders. Exhale through your mouth. Repeat 5 times.

The 100s
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The 100s

What it does: Tones and strengthens your abs, increases breath control. 

How to do it, per POPSUGAR: Lie on your back, holding your hips and knees at right angles and rounding your spine flat against the floor. While exhaling, lift your shoulder blades off the floor and reach your arms towards your feet, elbows straight. Pump your arms up and down as you inhale for five seconds, then exhale for five seconds. Repeat 10 times.

Hip Bridges
PHOTO: POPSUGAR
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Hip Bridges

What it does: Strengthens your glutes.

How to do it, per SELF: Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides, knees bent and feet placed shoulder-width apart. Push down on your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up. Pause for a couple seconds, then bring your hips back down to the floor. Repeat 10 times.

glute bridges
PHOTO: GLAMOUR
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Glute Bridges

What it does: Strengthens your glutes.

How to do it, per Glamour: Lie on your back, placing one foot on the wall (or your headboard) and the other towards the ceiling. Lift your glutes off the ground, holding them up in the air for a few seconds, then bring them back down. Repeat 10 times.

leg bridges
PHOTO: VOGUE
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Single-Leg Bridges

(You want bridges? YOU'RE GETTIN' EM.)

What it does: Strengthens your glutes and lower abs.

How to do it, per Vogue: Lie on your back, feet shoulder-width apart and knees bent. Lift up your hips a la hip bridges, and while balancing on one foot, lift one leg into the air. Lower your leg down slowly and hover it parallel to the ground. Repeat 10 times, then switch to the other leg.

bicycle crunches
PHOTO: GIPHY
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Bicycle Crunches

What it does: Tones your abs and obliques. 

How to do it, per POPSUGAR: Lie on your back with your spine pressed firmly on the ground. Without pulling on your neck, place your hands behind your head and lift your shoulder blades off the ground while bringing your knees toward your chest. Bring one knee toward the opposite elbow while extending the other leg, then alternate. Repeat 10 times.

Glute Ball Lift
PHOTO: FITNESS.COM
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Glute Ball Lift

What it does: Strengthens your glutes.

How to do it: Lie face-down and place a medicine ball (or literally anything else sitting around your room) between your ankles. Lift said object up so that your knees form a right angle, then slowly lower the object back toward the ground. Repeat 10 times.

neck glides
PHOTO: MAN REPELLER
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Neck Glides

What it does: Strengthens and relieves strain on your neck muscles.

How to do it, per Man Repeller: While sitting up straight, imagine your chin is sitting on a table. Slowly slide your head straight back, then return it to its original position. (Make sure you're moving your neck, not just your chin.) Repeat 10 times. 

Legs Around The World
PHOTO: RACKED
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Legs Around The World

What it does: Strengthens your abs.

How to do it, per Racked: Lie on your back, spine pressed against the floor and arms at your sides. Bring your knees up to your chest, then slowly extend your legs and rotate them in a circle clockwise, then counterclockwise. Bring your feet back to the floor, then repeat 10 times.

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HALEY HENSCHEL

Haley is a writer, editor, and illustrator from Wisconsin, so please don't serve her an Old Fashioned unless it contains brandy. Outside of work, you'll find her aquascaping, getting bossed around by her bird, or planning another trip to Australia. She currently lives in Chicago, where she's having a hard time adjusting to the whole "no ketchup on hot dogs" thing. Feel free to send your pizza recs/Kardashian konspiracies her way. Currently reading: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @haleyhenschel.

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