Lauren, gardening is great and a good workout too! Plus, I think it's good for the soul...something about digging in the dirt and the whole, "One is closer to God in a garden than anywhere else on earth" thing.
I read somewhere that gardening is the best exercise we can do, bar none, for bone strength and density. Something about the way it works makes our bones much healthier! I wouldn't count it as cardio, persay, but I would definitely count it as exercise.
As to bulbs, you can find lots of great gardening guides to give you tips, but I've found (as a CA girl who now lives in upstate NY) that the locals are the best people to ask. Ask your new neighbors (great way to get to know them, too!) what they do. In CA we did just what Barb said (though we dug them back up and put them back in the fridge each year so they kept blooming), but in NY, you put them in the ground in the fall, before the ground freezes (listen to local news to hear frost reports). Give them some bonemeal (or bulb fertilizer) then, and again in the spring. Technically, that's all you have to do.
However...nothing is as easy as it seems.
Squirrels, bunnies, and deer can be the bane of your existence (and evil neighbor kids, of which I have a couple
)...the first will dig up the bulbs and eat them, the latter two will eat the leaves and flowers. Technically, deer hate daffodils, but I have seen them eat the flowers anyway. Guess those ones didn't get the memo.
You can purchase all different kinds of bulbs online and sometimes I have had better luck with them. They provide lots of support for how and when to plant. If you buy ones that say "naturalizing" they are likely to propogate and come back year after year bigger and bigger (as long as everything else works out...).
Some other issues are wetness...if the ground is too wet or you plant in a location that doesn't get much sun, the bulbs rot (I had 150 do that to me the first year I planted here...). You can do all sorts of things to keep the squirrels away, such as put chicken wire over the bulb before covering it in dirt, or sprinkling gravel over it (neither will harm the bulb). You can also put them underneath to protect from gophers. Bulbs, in general, like sandy and well-draining soil.
Your life will be much easier if you get a bulb planter, and get a nice one, like Fisker's or something ergonomic. Here's how to do it. Look at the diagram that comes with the bulbs (or look online) and figure out how deep to plant them. The bulb planter should have marks on the side to indicate inches, but if not, measure with a tape or ruler and mark the depth. Then, sink the planter into the ground to the mark, squeeze the handle, and twist it a bit as you pull it out. Lay the planter on its side. Plant the bulb in the hole you made, with the pointy part up and the dried roots (looks like the bottom of an onion) down. Then, move to the next spot and sink the planter in. The dirt from the first hole will spill out the top...that's okay, it's what you want to happen. Plant your bulb in the hole, and push the dirt next to it into the hole to cover the bulb. Pat down firmly. Plant and continue this. When you get to the very end, take the dirt from the full planter over to the first hole and dump it in, patting down around the bulb. Sprinkle area with fertilizer or bonemeal and water. Water a couple more times before ground freezes, then ignore until Spring. In the Spring, once the last freeze is past, fertilize again. This might be after they bloom...some guides I've read recommend that.