With gyms closed and motivation low during lockdown, many of us have dropped our fitness routines by the wayside.
But as the warmer weather tempts us outdoors for walks with mates or a fitness class in the park, there's no time like the present to get moving again.
Not only is exercise good for our bodies, it has huge benefits for our minds. After weeks of lockdown restrictions, we could all use a boost to our mental health.
Aussie fitness influencer and co-founder of wellness app Keep It Cleaner Laura Henshaw spoke to the Herald about how she banishes her own lockdown blues - running.
Research shows that running increases endorphins and can help with stress management, with a recent study concluding that it can even work as a "therapeutic tool for psychological conditions". This means running is quite literally a mood booster, especially when you might be feeling stuck.
With her hometown of Melbourne having been in lockdown for nearly three times as long as Auckland, Henshaw is no stranger to feeling stuck.
So along with co-founder Steph Claire Smith, she's launched a new guided running program on the app. But she's the first to acknowledge that the thought of running can be pretty intimidating.
"The biggest misconception is that people 'believe' that they aren't a runner, when in fact if you are fortunate to have the ability to run, you can be a runner," she tells the Herald.
But it's important not to overdo it on your first run, Henshaw says. You won't run 5km the first time you head out the door.
How to get started
"It's common to think that when you start running you need to push yourself to run 2km or 3km on your first run. This is only going to add to any feelings of overwhelm, leaving you feeling frustrated, potentially injured and will likely put you off running."
It's age-old advice but you really do have to walk before you can run. Henshaw advises to start with interval runs - alternating between walking and running paces so your body can adapt.
"It makes your runs more achievable, which will make you feel more confident, allowing you to actually look forward to your runs, rather than dread them."
Henshaw says running isn't just good for your body - it's her "go-to form of meditation".
"It's a powerful energy booster, the endorphin rush you can experience after a run is just the best feeling.
"Runner's high is 100 per cent a thing. Not only does it make me feel incredibly empowered but it helps to clear my head and boost my energy."
Henshaw admits she struggles to find motivation at times but still tries to make staying active a priority. And she has a few tips for beginner runners.
"Schedule your workouts to hold you accountable. Listen to your body, if you're not feeling up to a run, don't push yourself, opt for a yoga or Pilates class instead.
"For me, maintaining movement has made the world of difference for my mind and lifted that constant lockdown slump feeling."