I’m sure I’ve told you all before how I’d rather do anything other than spend countless hours in the gym. Eating healthy, although it used to be a struggle, now comes easier to me. However, when it comes to exercise, the thought of it makes me want to deep dive into my couch and never get up. While I type this out loud, I know that avoiding exercise is not an option and incorporating it into our daily lives is a must. Many of you probably already live by this and have no problem getting in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. For those of you who are like me, we have to keep moving, even when we don’t feel like it.

In addition to exercise being necessary for achieving or maintaining a healthy weight, it has been proven to do wonders for your mental health. Physical exercise reduces anxiety and depression while significantly improving cognitive function. Have you ever noticed how clear your mind feels after an exercise session? That’s because it releases the same endorphins that are responsible for helping you feel mentally sharp and concentrate. Physical exercise also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and it helps prevent diseases associated with aging.

The reasons I’ve listed above are enough to motivate me not to get lost in the crevices of my couch, but there’s another issue I face: the type of exercise I should do. However, here’s the thing; as long as you’re moving enough to get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day, that will typically get the job done. Think of what types of movement are your favorite kind of exercise. I personally prefer the team-oriented sports workout or dancing. Unfortunately, I’m not always able to participate in those on a regular basis, so I made it a point to be more intentional by joining a gym with team style training. With this type of training, I’m able to go into the gym and do personalized training with a very small group of people. This helps me feel as if I’m still in a competitive team environment and I appreciate the accountability and support that working with a small group provides. This is one of the countless options. Here are 5 more tips to get you inspired!

1. Gym Workouts

The bane of my existence, but some people love them! If you love going to the gym and sweating it out on the treadmill, elliptical, or hitting free weights on your own, then by all means, stick to it! The great thing about gym workouts is you can switch it up every day. You don’t have to stick to the same routine and there are plenty of workout apps you can download on your phone and take with you to the gym. This will keep you from getting stagnate and bored in your 3-5 times a week visits.

2. Yoga or Pilates

To some, these two types of workouts aren’t thought of as being vigorous enough, but when it comes to your mental health, yoga has been known to help so many people. It’s more of a mindful exercise because it helps you to focus on the connection between the body and the mind.

3. Running, Biking, or Hiking

The reason I named all of these together is that these are all outdoor activities. The combination of fresh air and exercise will work wonders for your mental health, especially in 2020. We’ve all been cooped up for quite some time, finding ways to get outside while exercising and practicing social distancing, you’d be amazed at how much better you’ll feel and how much clarity simply being outside will bring you.

4. Jumping Rope

Here’s one you probably didn’t expect to see on my list, jumping rope has some amazing health benefits. Ten minutes of jumping rope is equivalent to running an 8-minute mile because of the caloric burn and the elevation in heart rate that it produces. I invited a group of friends to double dutch with me before Covid began. We ranged in age from 35 to 75. Oh, the fun we had. It did wonders for our physical AND our mental health. So grab a jump rope and go outside!

5. Workout Apps

Lastly, there are plenty of apps to help you stay consistent and motivated, tailoring workouts to your interests, body type, and health goals that you can follow from the four walls of your home. Many of them have paid memberships, but you can typically sign up for a free trial to see which ones work best for you. They are a great way to enjoy your workout and spice things up with plenty of variety!

These are just a few ways to kickstart your exercise journey and regiment. Remember exercise is not all about having the perfect body worthy of a magazine cover. Remember most of those bodies are photoshopped or have more plastic and injections than a Tonka truck to look that way. Exercise is about creating healthy habits for you and your family, being the healthiest, most balanced person you can be for your loved ones, and most importantly, YOU! Give these options a try and never stop exploring! Even if you find a particular form of exercise you enjoy, don’t be afraid to get adventurous and try new things. The more variety, the better.

Share with us some of your exercise tips and record your journey to spark some positive healthy habits in your community on social media and tag us so we can cheer you on as well!