It might be easy to tell ourselves or others, “there’s just not enough time in my life for exercise”. I get it. Like so many of you, I juggle working full-time, kids’ schedules, meetings, grocery shopping, laundry, a 4:30pm dinner before two practices, and the list goes on. It’s challenging and seems insurmountable to fit one more item on your “To Do” list. But then I remember this excerpt from author, Iain Thomas:
“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!’ And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, ‘No. THIS is what’s important.’”
I’m sure you would give this same advice to your loved ones, right? So, consider yourself. YOU are important. YOUR heart health is important. YOU deserve some exercise in your life!
WHY exercise is so important:
If you don’t make a change, things will remain the same
I often think of the word ‘Inertia’, in the law of Physics, a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.
This law of physics couldn’t be more factual when discussing our physical fitness. The “a tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged” can especially hang in the air. Unless that state is changed by an external force (our own decisions and actions), nothing will change or improve.
The benefits of exercise are immeasurable
They truly are! Take a moment and look at the benefits of exercising regularly. There is not one prescription drug on the market that can have as positive of an effect on preventing and improving health conditions that exercise can.
Regular exercise can prevent or treat dozens of diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity and some cancers. It can also protect your joints, prevent falls and injuries and increase bone strength. In addition, it’s important to avoid inactivity or the amount of time spent sitting. Limiting sitting to less than six to eight hours a day is optimal. Regular exercise makes our activities of daily living much easier and provides us the ability to thrive!
We will THRIVE instead of simply survive
When we set aside a plan to exercise daily, we will reap many benefits and thrive in life, as opposed to simply try to survive. I love Arianna Huffington’s description in her book “Thrive” regarding how seriously we take the battery power sign on our smart phones. If it’s nearing “low power mode” we become a bit frantic as we search for the nearest power source to refuel and recharge. However, in life, we rarely pause to recognize when our bodies are operating on “low power mode” and need to recharge.
If we took time to build strength, endurance and flexibility in our physical selves, the benefits spill over into other areas of our life, including our relationships, our careers, our outlook on life and even sleep patterns.
I could spend days here discussing how daily exercise improves our well-being and boosts our ability to thrive in life! You will find yourself more productive in your daily life. And your emotional health will receive a boost. Have you met a miserable individual that exercises regularly? I challenge you to find one….they are hard to find.
Ways to Start or Get Back into Exercise
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends exercising at least 150 minutes a week. Yet many of us still struggle to make this a part of our lives. Here are some ways to start an exercise routine or to get back into a routine if you have gotten off track.
Write Down Your “Why?”
Ask yourself “Why is it important to me that I start to exercise?” Are you out of breath after walking up a flight or two of stairs? Are your pants fitting more snug than previously? Did your doctor recommend necessary health improvements that can be obtained through exercise? Or do you just want to have more energy, improve sleep quality or just feel better overall?
Having a “why” is the first intention in initiating an exercise program. Writing it down in a journal or in your “notes” in a mobile device helps you set up a foundation for staying focused on your goal. It provides the motivation to get off the couch and take the first steps toward moving more.
Take your “Why” to another level by professing it to a peer, family member, or friend; someone you know who will encourage and support you and hold you accountable. If you have a “why” you have a reason to get started.
Start by Taking “Small Steps”
Keep it simple and obtainable at first. Start with a ten-minute walk every day at a routine time that works for you. Then eventually add on more minutes. Another great way to start is by seeking the help of a professional at a fitness club, like Universal. A personal trainer might also help, they can map out a plan to get you started on the right path with some cardio, strength and stretch workouts that are realistic for you to follow.
Find a pal, start moving and have fun with it. Make a commitment to it for one month. You’ll be happy with the difference it makes in your life!