I have a friend who can go on for hours about her runner’s high. She drives me nuts. I do enjoy swimming. I feel great after a long walk. I practically burst with joy whenever I dance. But running? Not for me.

I share this to clarify: it’s not a one-size-fits-all strategy. The benefits of being physically active are universal, but you have to figure out what physical activities are the ones for you. You’ve got to be motivated. If you’re not going to actually do it, it’s not going to work.

So what should you do to get to a healthier, happier place? It depends what you like, what your body can handle, and how you’re feeling inside.

01 If You Just Want to Curl Up in a Ball

You might not immediately think of exercise as a way to boost your feel-good brain chemicals, but getting active can actually ease your depression. Start by putting on your exercise clothes. Turn on some upbeat music and make small movements to the beat. Feel the music. Lean into it gradually. Let it lift you up.

02 If You’re Feeling Lonely

Exercise can be a great way to interact with other people! Your Health Advisor can help you find group exercise opportunities in your area that are a good fit for your needs. You can also go for a walk around the neighborhood, or in an air-conditioned mall, and make a point of smiling at anyone you see.

03 If You’re Feeling Insecure

Set a goal: something you can do today, or something you can work your way up to over time. Your Health Advisor can hold you accountable, and that sense of purpose can propel you to a happier, healthier place.

04 If You’re Feeling Stressed or Anxious

Make exercise your outlet. Talk to your doctor first, of course, but to the degree that it’s safe for your health, pushing yourself physically can really clear your head. Run it out. Dance it out. Or simply squeeze your fists (or better yet, a stress ball!) as hard as you can, then release. Focus on the physical: where you’re going, how you’re moving, how your body feels. Let everything else fall away.

05 If You’re Feeling the Motivation to Get Moving

That’s awesome! Don’t forget to warm up, stretch out, and cool down. More info here.

The more you move, the better you’ll feel…. on three conditions: start slow,  listen to your body, and choose options that feel good to you.

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