If you’ve been feeling like something is off, weird, or downright out of whack recently, good ol’ mercury in retrograde may be to blame.
For those of you who aren’t astrology buffs, here’s the deal with MIR: Three to four times a year, Mercury appears to switch directions (hence, retrograde). Although this is technically an optical illusion, astrologers believe the phenomenon can cause a whole slew of wackiness, from transportation to communication issues. “This phenomenon is one of the few that affects everyone in a fairly uniform way, and its effects are always obvious,” says Susan Miller, founder of AstrologyZone.com. “When Mercury retrogrades, think of it as an instant signal that the wind is changing direction.”
And while not everyone is keen to pointing fingers at planetary disturbances for day-to-day problems, if you’re an astrology fan, you may be treading especially cautiously during this time. Miller notes “Mercury rules anything that begins with ‘re’: redo, reassess, repair, repeat, redesign, or revisit,” which means this is generally not a great time to switch things up and try something new. “Although these Mercury retrograde periods can be frustrating, they allow us to stop, look, listen, and redirect our energies more productively.”
And that goes for your workouts, too. Rather than dive into a new routine during this cosmically chaotic time, consider sticking with tried-and-true movements, and simplifying your workout so it solely relies on your body weight, rather than complex machines. “It’s common to feel uninspired, in a rut and just straight “bleh,” said Christina Muccio, Reebok trainer and instructor at Boston’s Barry’s Bootcamp and B/SPOKE. “Revisiting an old workout, resetting back to a basic workout, or circling back in with you favorite trainer could help you reset to sweat.” (The Slim, Sexy, Strong Workout DVD is the fast, flexible workout you’ve been waiting for!)
Here, Muccio has put together an exclusive workout for Women’s Health that does just that. Each of the nine moves is simple, equipment-free, and likely an exercise you’re already familiar with. But, together, these moves make for an effective routine that’s sure to keep your body feeling strong and stable while Mercury is doing its thing. So head outside, work up a sweat, and remember the cosmos will be back in order in no time.
How to: Stand as tall as you can with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. Lower your body down by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Pause, then slowly push yourself back to the starting position.
How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. Step forward with your right leg and slowly lower your body until your right knee is bent at least 90 degrees. Pause, then raise up and bring your back foot forward so that you move forward (like you’re walking) a step with every rep. Alternate the leg you step forward with each time.
How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your gaze forward and your abs tight, take a big step to the left with your left foot and bend your knee 90 degrees, keeping your right leg extended. Push through the heel of your left foot to return to standing. Repeat on your right side to complete one rep.
How to: Stand on your left foot with your left knee slightly bent and your right foot slightly off the floor. Lower your body toward the floor, then bound to your right by jumping off your left leg. Land on your right foot and bring your left foot behind your right as you reach toward the outside of your right foot with your left hand. Reverse the movement, landing on your left foot.
How to: Get into a pushup position, feet hip-width apart and hands about shoulder-width apart. Keeping your core tight, jump both feet a few inches farther apart; pause, then jump your feet back together to return to start. That’s one rep.
SIDE PLANK WITH HIP DIP
How to: Keep one hand on the ground, the other up in the air. Your feet should both be on the ground, staggered, and your body balanced. Make sure your abs are tight. To make it a little more challenging, try dipping your hip down slowly just a few inches and come back up. Hold for 20 seconds each side.
How to: Lie flat on the floor with your hands behind your ears. Raise your legs about six inches off the floor and bring your shoulders up, so that your arms are in a wide V. Next, use your abs to drive your right elbow toward your left knee, release, and then drive your left elbow toward your right knee. Continue alternating sides.
How to: Sit on the floor, and lean back so that your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Hold your arms straight out in front of your chest with your palms together and feet lifted, knees bent. Keeping your legs elevated and still, twist to the right, using your core. Then, rotate to the left. That’s one rep.
How to: Bend your knees to place your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders. Jump both feet behind you, bending your elbows to lower your body to the floor. Quickly reverse the motion, then jump straight up and clap your hands overhead. That’s one rep.