How Exercise Can Make You Happy

Schwerd's Hurdle

"I work long hours at a cancer center and have lots of meetings. That makes it hard to get to the gym," Schwerd says. "I love my work, but it's intense—I help patients deal with life-and-death issues. I want to enjoy my job without feeling exhausted by it."

Newbie Breakthrough

"On day one, I took a killer conditioning class called Hard Core Cuts at Equinox. It was intimidating, but I felt connected to my body for the first time in a long time. The next morning, I actually woke up before my alarm and was like, 'Hello, world!'"

Her Week Two Breakthrough

"I fell in love with a class called Barre Burn, which incorporates Pilates moves. All my energy used to go into my job. Once I started exercising, I could work during the day, go to the gym at night and still have energy to spare."

Her Key to Calm

"When I'm on the elliptical, I put on my music and Zen out. My stress disappears."

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Six Weeks Later

"I've come so far from the girl who was cursing the day I agreed to this plan. I exercised for only four of the six days I was supposed to—my gym is by my office so it was easier to do it at lunch or after work than on weekends—but the program was life-changing. If I had 8 minutes, I'd get on the treadmill for 8 minutes. The more I exercised, the more in tune I got with myself. I moved to a new neighborhood I love and started going out to hear local bands again, which makes me happy. I'm no longer overwhelmed by work, and I fit into clothes that used to be too small. I'm hooked on the exhilaration of pushing myself physically."

Your Stress-Stopping RX

Three days of moderately intense aerobic exercise 45 to 60 minutes + one or two days of yoga + one or two days of strength training 30 to 60 minutes = a more serene you!

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"I Need a Mood Booster"

 Heather Finn, 35, talent agent

Finn's Custom Plan 

  • Walk with a friend or do a group class for 60 minutes one time a week
  • Strength training session with celebrity trainer Larysa Didio for 45 to 60 minutes one time a week
  • Cardio (jumping jacks, elliptical, bike, treadmill) 30 minutes three times a week

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