exercise-illustration1 Need an emotional lift or simply to blow off some steam?! Getting in a little exercise can be just what you need to turn that frown upside down.  Regular physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that make you feel happier, and is also a key factor in maintaining your overall health, weight and energy levels.  In addition, exercise is a great sleep aid (as long as you don’t exercise too close to bedtime), and of course, increases your confidence level which can even put the spark back into your love life ;).  Not to mention, exercise can be super fun whether you prefer the gym, sports or great outdoors.  Here are a few ideas to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine:

  • Get outside!! Spring is right around the corner, which makes it the perfect time to get some much needed sunshine and fresh air.  Grab your iPod and venture out on a run, walk, bike or hike.  Go to the beach and join a volleyball game or go for a swim.  It won’t even cost you a dime.
  • If you’re into sports, join your favorite league, like soccer, hockey, volley ball, tennis, squash, baseball, softball, football or rugby.
  • Try a new class. There are so many studios and gyms popping up everywhere these days.  Experiment and see what you like best.  Think Barre, Pilates, Yoga, CrossFit, Spin, Zumba, TRX Suspension Training, Shred, Bootcamps, Kettlebell, to name a few.
  • Buy a fitbit (or comparable device) and try to increase your steps each day.
  • Ditch convenience. Instead of driving or taking public transportation walk or bike when you can to your destinations.  Forgo the elevator and take the stairs or park in the last spot in the lot.
  • Hire a trainer. Having a committed time and appointment works wonders when you want to slack.
  • Download a fitness app or go on You Tube. There are so many trainers that have amazing programs available to you for free or at a minimal cost.
  • Make it social. Do your favorite activities with a bestie, and it will not only make the time fly by, but in my experience generate lots of laughs along the way.
  • IMG_3056 Plant an organic garden and grow your own vegetables. Not only is gardening great exercise, but you’ll be getting stellar nutritional benefits.
  • Bond with a Pet. All of you dog owners know that having a dog guarantees lots of extra activity.  One of my favorite things to do is explore the city of Chicago or Lake Geneva, WI with my golden Gatsby.  And even when I’m feeling lazy, he needs a walk at least four times a day!!!

Bottom line, exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day and go from there to reach your fitness goals.