Making time for movement provides us with so many rewards — some expected, and some surprising. After all, we know that there are physical benefits to exercising regularly, but there are also mental and emotional perks to staying active. And pausing to appreciate the unexpected ripple effects of movement can help motivate us on days we feel uninspired or lethargic.

Here are four ways to use movement to boost your mood and your mental health, according to frontline workers: 

Start slow and celebrate your small wins

“I walk to the mailbox, park farther away from the entrance at work, and do a lap around the building when it’s time for my break. My biggest tip: Celebrate small wins just as much as you would celebrate big wins. Did you lose half a pound in a week? That’s just as big as losing five! You should also know what you want to achieve. Set a goal, but don’t worry if you don’t see immediate results — they will come.”

— Brian Cayen, Ottawa, ON

Boost your connections by making it a family activity

“Our family is becoming more of a team and I don’t think there is anything more beautiful than that. Bringing them into this journey has made all of us more accountable and effective. Before, I’d tell my family I’m going for a walk or a run and say I’d be home later. Now, it’s like: ‘OK, everyone get ready! We’re doing this together.’”

— Jessica Judy, Gas City, IN

Habit-stack your movement

“I assigned myself designated ’T.V. time’ instead of binge-watching, so I am usually doing some type of activity while watching a show, like strengthening my core, stretching, or using dumbbells to work my arms. One evening I was watching T.V. while alternating between jumping jacks and crunches when my son said, ‘Mom, I’m really proud of you.’”

— Jennifer Foxx, Fredericksburg, VA

Move in a way that brings you joy

“I have a dance party every night at home. It’s my new adventure! It began with a Thrive Microstep to move for five minutes a day. Now I dance my buns off for 30 minutes listening to Prince, Mary J. Blige, and Kenny Rogers. My dog, Charley, looks at me thinking: ‘What is my mom doing?’”

— Patricia Skok, Tampa, FL