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Movement has many benefits in addition to keeping your body physically fit. Activity helps to manage mental and emotional health. Many of us are struggling with feelings of anxiety and hopelessness during this time of social distancing, quarantine and uncertainty. Please know that if you are struggling there is help available. If you need to be connected with resources of any kind, call 211 to speak with a specialist or visit Great Rivers 211 online.

Exercise can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression while improving self-esteem. You do not have to run for an hour to feel these benefits. Simply step outside for a five minute walk and you will likely feel your mood lift, allowing feelings of worry and fear slip away.

Regular movement can help you get better sleep at night, improve your mental alertness and decrease your level of stress. Move your body in some capacity every day. This can be as simple as choosing to take the stairs more often, getting up to stretch each hour or going on regular walks in your neighborhood.

Move in a way you enjoy. Not all people enjoy traditional exercise and that is okay. If you find yourself dreading your daily exercise routine, it might be time to find something different. Take your dog for a walk or play with your kids. Try yoga, Tai Chi or Zumba. The opportunities for movement are endless if you let go of the idea that it needs to include running or weight lifting.

It's okay to feel unmotivated. If you don't feel motivated to exercise this is normal and okay. When you are struggling to get going, commit to just five minutes. If after five minutes you want to stop, allow yourself to do so. More than likely that first five minutes will be the most difficult part of your entire workout and you will end up going longer and feeling more energized afterward.

Remember to take care of yourself. If you are a parent or caregiver, allow yourself time each day to let go of your caregiver hat and focus just on yourself. This is necessary to recharge and continue to strengthen your resilience to be able to tackle what lies ahead.

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