Do you often feel that exercise is often a “have to” or a “should” not a “want to”? Most of us often feel like exercise has to be hours spent at the gym, sweating and short of breath. There is so much more to exercise than being forced into a gym to sweat and gasp for air for hours. With winter on it’s way it can be even harder to motivate yourself to make time for exercise.
Let’s first talk about what exercise can be and then we’ll talk about the greater benefits of regular activity. Exercise, like meditation, has all of these preconceived notions about what it is and therefor what it isn’t. I see many clients that think, “well if I can’t get to the gym for an hour then it’s just not worth it.” I challenge you to change the word exercise to movement or activity. Saying “I need to move” or “I need to be active for a bit today” sounds a bit less overwhelming than “I have to exercise (or work out).”
Our bodies were designed to move. We are not designed to sit at a desk for long areas or stand in one place all day. Our body begins to deteriorate and age prematurely when we are not active. When we really pay attention, our body craves movement. There are SO many ways to move, it does not have to be running on a treadmill or lifting weights (although, if you enjoy these things, they are great ways to get the body moving). Take a minute and just sit with your body, quietly breathing. Check in and see what areas of your body are tight, maybe feel sluggish? What areas are craving movement? If you sit or stand all day, you may feel it in your hips, your knees or your low back. Maybe in your shoulders from being at a computer all day; or in your neck holding your stress. What kind of movement could you do to honor these places that feel stuck? Walking? Swimming? Dancing? Yoga or gentle stretching? Choose a movement that you can get excited about, something that makes you feel good, inside and out. Don’t worry so much about exercise, just get moving!
Now decide how often you can commit to this activity. Set yourself up for success, choose a time and frequency that you can stick to. Even if that is just two times a week to start. Exercise is just as important as eating, breathing and sleeping. Often we make more time to explore the internet, watch TV, or other things that don’t improve our health. Taking time away from these useless activities can do so much to improve your life!! Let’s look at some of those benefit.
The National Institute on Aging recently supported a study that concluded walking 6 – 9 miles a week may protect brain size in old age, preserving memory and showing potential for preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Just 6 – 9 miles a week!! That’s only two to three miles a day, just three days a week!! (Click Here for full report.)
Feeling too tired to exercise? That’s even more reason to get moving!! Exercise will increase oxygen levels in the body. When our brain, organs and muscles have more oxygen they are able to function better giving you more energy throughout the day!
Exercise builds lean muscle; “magically” increasing your metabolism! Muscle burns more calories than fat, so building lean muscle mass increases your metabolism and helps you lose weight with less effort.
Weight bearing exercise such as yoga, dancing, light weight lifting or any other activity that allows your muscles to work against gravity can greatly improve bone health and reduce your risk of osteoporosis. As muscle contracts it puts a gentle strain on the bone where it attaches. This strain tells the bone to create more bone cells, making the bone stronger and healthier. Stronger bones not only means a lowered risk of osteoporosis but a lowered risk of fractures as well.
Increased cardiovascular exercise will improve the strength of the most important muscle in your body – your heart!! When are heart is strong we can decrease our chance of cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure, heart attack and heart palpations.
Finally, exercising regularly can keep you healthy and keep you OUT of the doctors office. Keeping medical bills and prescription charges lower, giving you more money to spend on things you love!
As you can see exercise and movement has many, many more benefits than just weight loss. We need to remain active in order to maintain mental clarity, reduce injury, increase energy and improve quality of life.
I would love to hear what you are going to commit to today! Share your commitment here, make a comment and tell us what you are going to do. Declaring your commitment is also a great way to stick to it.
Good Luck!! Happy Moving 🙂