top of page


Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel

By: Alyssa

Magazines, online articles, and your local health nut will list dozens of ways exercise will change your life. However, improved physical health is the tip of the iceberg when the mental health aspects and sense of community are factored in.

While sweating off stubborn pounds, improving aerobic capacity, and the science showing years added to one’s life are great benefits of exercise, it is not always what motivates people to continue a healthy lifestyle. An overwhelming sense of well-being that includes physical and mental relaxation, quality sleep, energy throughout the day, and a more positive outlook on life are what turn health goals into a reality. Stress can be deeply embedded in our lives to the point where our bodies are negatively affected. Face, neck, and shoulder muscles tighten and tension headaches can turn into migraines. A tight chest, insomnia, stomachaches, and running to the bathroom are other common and unpleasant side effects of internalizing the stresses of life. Luckily, exercise can break this cycle. A wave of endorphins follow physical activity while repetitive motions relax the muscles and the mind.

To achieve this mental health boost one doesn’t need to spend hours at an expensive gym or run mile after mile. 30 minutes of mild to moderate exercise five times a week, or even 10-15 minute exercise sessions will help your body to adjust and raise energy levels so in time you’ll feel ready to add a few more minutes. Unfortunately the hardest part is also the most important; consistency. Having a friend, family member, or fitness community to meet with turns an exercise session into a social event.

A health trend that has been gaining traction is the concept of community fitness. Many gyms offer a variety of group classes, from healing yoga to kick boxing for beginners and water aerobics. Cities, such as St. Cloud, also offer Community Education classes and events that are focused on bringing the community together in a healthy way.

Open gym times for basketball, volleyball, and walking programs are available on the School District 742 website and show multiple locations; free parking and a $2 entry fee make it easy for all ages to try something new. A newly remodeled YMCA and Sta-Fit locations in Sartell and St. Cloud offer a variety of classes from yoga to water aerobics as well as a hot tub and sauna. Fit Camp by Kari Meyer is hosted by the river in Sauk Rapids twice a week for a community zumba-style class; session information is updated on their Facebook page weekly. For those looking to jump into a Crossfit/Bootcamp style of workout with hands on training and a small class size will enjoy Max Effort Fitness; a variety of one hour workouts from 6am to 6pm with a workout written out and modifications available will provide a challenge for those who want it.

Health and happiness can be achieved outside the walls of a gym and for free in your

community. Riverside and Calvary parks have frisbee golf courses open to the public and border Munsinger Gardens. Taking a walk around Lake George with a pet or pal will get your endorphins up just as fast as playing tag with your children or taking a stroll through the Quarry Park to see the leaves change colors. If there is time to stress there is time to relieve it, grab a friend and lace up your shoes to see what is waiting outside your front door!


Featured Posts
bottom of page