Shape Studio: 5-Minute Full-Body Circuit for an Instant Mood Boost

This simple 5-move circuit is the ultimate exercise snack — or you can repeat for an even more intense workout.

Exercise sparks an instant high, but it's also a surefire path to greater well-being when you do it regularly. So suggests a recent consensus in the Journal of Happiness Studies, which asked top experts to rate 68 science-backed strategies for lifting one's happiness level. Being active ranked third (after bonding with family and friends and joining a club), and working out was No. 5.

One reason: "It makes people more aware of how they feel," says study coauthor Ruut Veenhoven, Ph.D., an emeritus professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. "That sets the scene for finding a way of life that better fits them."

When it comes to finding the workout with the biggest perks, you can't go wrong. "Both aerobic and anaerobic activity will boost happiness," says Jennifer Huberty, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist and a professor at Arizona State University. "Even 10 minutes a day can help you feel an improvement." (The more, the better, but the benefits max out somewhere after 150 minutes per week, she says.)

Kick off your habit with this month's Shape Studio workout, a cardio-strength combo created by master motivator Adam Rosante. As a sought-after strength coach and a Shape Brain Trust member, Rosante optimizes your time with intervals, which you'll also find in this routine. "If I tell 20 people to do 10 push-ups, they'll likely finish at different times," he says. "If I tell 20 people to do push-ups for 30 seconds, trying to get as many reps as possible while maintaining perfect form, they'll do different numbers of reps, but they'll finish together and feel like they're part of one team."

In his body-weight circuit (no need for equipment!), you'll do creative compound moves — like a surfer's pop-up — core exercises, and more purely aerobic moves "to bring your heart rate up quickly." Follow along with your favorite tunes playing, or Zoom it with a friend to add to the enjoyment, he says.

"Working out is one small slice of your life, but it can create the most magical halo across the rest of your life," says Rosante. "Look at exercise for what it is: a very small fraction of your day with nearly endless benefits." Sold? Hit play to get started.

5-Move Feel-Good Circuit

How it works: Do each move for 45 seconds, resting for 15 seconds in between. Do the circuit once for a quick "exercise snack" or repeat it a few times for a longer workout.
You'll need: No equipment

Climber Reach

A. Start in a high plank position.
B. Step the right foot forward outside of the right hand, knee bent at 90 degrees. Reach right arm toward ceiling, rotating through upper back, then drop the right elbow toward the floor, rotating the other direction.
C. Place the right palm on the floor, then step right foot back to plank.
D. Step left foot forward to repeat on the other side. Continue alternating.

Repeat for 45 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds.

Squat Hold & Jump

A. Start standing with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
B. Hinge at hips to sink into a squat, pausing when thighs are parallel to the floor (or as low as is comfortable). Hold for 1 second, then stand.
C. Lower back into a squat, then jump, pushing through legs to come off the floor.
D. Land softly in a squat. Hold for 1 second at the bottom, then stand to begin the next rep.

Repeat for 45 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds.

Twisted T Plank

A. Start in an low plank position on elbows with forearms pointed directly forward in line with elbows and shoulders.
B. Lift the right arm up toward the sky, opening chest to the right. Return right arm to the floor.
C. Repeat on the left side, staying on toes (not rolling over onto the outsides of feet).

Repeat for 45 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds.


A. Start lying face-down on the floor with legs outstretched and arms by sides. Contract muscles in the upper back to lift head and shoulders off the floor.
B. Trying not to let hands touch the floor, reach arms forward, biceps in line with ears, then sweep them out to the sides and back toward hips in a swimming motion.
C. Repeat, holding head and chest off the floor and trying to keep hands off the floor.

Repeat for 45 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds.

Surfer Pop-Up

A. Start in the bottom of a push-up position, lying face-down on the floor with toes tucked and palms on the floor under shoulders.
B. Press through hands to quickly hoist body off the floor, jumping feet forward to come into a ready position with the right foot in front and the left foot back (think: like in a boxing stance or on a surfboard or snowboard).
C. Keeping chest forward, crouch down to place hands on the floor and step or hop feet back to plank to return to start.
D. Repeat, landing with the other foot forward. Continue alternating.

Repeat for 45 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds.

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