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Work it Out to get Happy 

We’ve all been there. It’s New Year’s and you’ve re-resolved yourself to begin exercising again after enjoying all that delicious holiday food. I’ll be the first to admit that sometime around Halloween my exercise routine gets to be pretty non-existent – between traveling, holidays, and the craziness that comes with it all, exercise is the first thing to go.

I was recently chatting with some girlfriends about their exercise routines and I was surprised at how different everyone’s were! From the occasional soccer game, to exercise videos, to training for marathons, these girls all did a little something to stay active. And while I myself (currently) fall in the category of exercise videos, I’ve never had a consistent workout that I’ve done – see, I like to switch it up every once in awhile. 

I’ve ran in Central Park, tried Yoga in Times Square, and completed some Jillian Michaels videos. The most recent plan I’ve done has been Kayla Itsines, I’m sure you’ve heard of her. Let me just say it was HARD, but the results were there all right. I’ve been trying to schedule a SoulCycle class with some friends, so maybe that’ll be my next workout love, but until that happens I’m doing some short workouts with resistance bands – and running after my toddler ha. Believe me, I’m the furthest thing from a gym rat, I don’t have extremely defined muscles, and I’m pretty sure I will never run a marathon – the thing is, you don’t need a crazy workout routine to get those exercise benefits. 

Start out small – even just 10 minutes a day – and see your physical AND emotional health improve. If you need a bit more motivation to get moving, here are some of those very attainable benefits: 

  • The effect that exercise has on your mind and body is comparable to therapy and medication in mildly and moderately depressed individuals  
  • Exercise increases the blood to your brain -including areas that control memory, mood, and fear, which not only improves your mood but also how your body reacts to stress 
  • Exercise can combat low self-esteem and social withdrawal 
  • Want to get a bit smarter? Working up a sweat can improve your cognitive functioning
  • In adolescents, those that exercised 4-5 times a week had less feelings of sadness and suicidal ideation, than those that only exercised once or less per week  

PLUS, the best way to get our little sprouts moving and on the way to developing a habit of exercising is to let them see us working up a sweat. So try the following and see both you and your little sprout get smarter, happier, and less stressed:

  • Mommy and me yoga classes are always fun and perfect if you need something low-impact 
  • Running laps around the playground while they play – they’ll find it amusing every time you pass them and will most likely want to join you on a few laps
  • Let them join you during exercise videos! This is my personal favorite; you can set up a towel for your kiddo and they’ll love to pretend it is their own yoga mat to do planks on
  • Who doesn’t love a good dance party? At our house, we crank up the music while we make dinner and just laugh at ourselves (we’ve got NO rhythm) while burning some calories. 
  • If you need something simple to start with, try going on a walk after dinner – it’ll also get your kiddos tired and ready for bed by the time you get back! 
  • Once your little sprouts are a bit older, try giving them a fun task (scavenger hunt!) or a chore (clean your toys!) while you do reps of your chosen exercise – better yet challenge them to complete the task before you finish your reps! 

What are your favorite ways to get your family moving or to sneak in exercise in your daily activities?  

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