When Jennifer Heisz, PhD, decided to complete an Ironman, she wasn’t looking to earn bragging rights. After years of researching how exercise can fight anxiety and depression, she wanted to feel the effects for herself. Then the pandemic closed her lab, shut down gyms and cancelled races. In the face of piled-on stress and uncertainty, she not only organized her own Ironman, she finished it solo. Along the way, she uncovered the pandemic paradox: Mental health is both a motivator and a barrier to exercise. On this episode, Dr Heisz kicks off our mental health miniseries by telling us what to do when anxiety stifles our urge to get moving. She also gives us a crash course on what goes on in the brain and body when we experience anxiety, stress or depression, and the ways that movement can ward off their symptoms. By detailing her scientific findings and her athletic journey, she shows us why it doesn’t take training for an Ironman to boost your brain, it just takes a little bit of movement every day.