Exercise is a double 4-letter word

Do you ever get this impression?  We all know that we need exercise, but many aren’t successful at connecting the true benefits of movement to their personal needs and desires.  There are so many benefits from ‘exercise’ and healthy movement, such as-

  • Managing your weight
  • Controlling blood pressure (strengthens the heart)
  • Decreasing risk of heart attack
  • Boosting the level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL- good cholesterol)
  • Lowering risk of stroke
  • Reducing risk of breast cancer and type 2 diabetes
  • Protecting against hip fracture
  • Prevent depression, colon cancer, constipation, osteoporosis, and impotence
  • Lengthen lifespan
  • Lower stress levels- An active, healthy body can cope better with daily demands
  • Relieve arthritis and back pain
  • Strengthen muscles, bones, and joints
  • Improves sleep
  • Elevate overall mood and sense of well-being

Why you should exercise is intrinsic to you.  What will motivate you is also an internal process that is very important to highlight.  Why do you think you need exercise?  What makes it important that you lose weight?  Why would you want to decrease your chance of heart disease?  Is that enough to motivate you, to pull you out of your entrenched habits?

Just move your body!

More than 60% of our population is completely sedentary.  Over 2/3 of Americans are considered ‘overweight’ or obese.  That means that most people choose to sit around, not ‘strain’ themselves instead of giving their heart a good beating.  By not doing some exercise or activity on a regular basis these folks are sentencing themselves to the greater possibility of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, fractures and various other forms of health conditions.  Studies show that 70% of our life expectancy is based on lifestyle choices. So, doesn’t it make sense that if we want to be healthy and live longer isn’t it time that we get off the couch and start moving our bodies?

Exercise, or healthy movement, does not need to be formal, or totally structured, such as a gym, pumping weights or an exercise class.  You can get a lot of what your body needs by doing what you might already be doing, such as walking, house cleaning, yard work, and the like, but just a bit more rigorously.  The bottom line is to find ways you enjoy to move your body, and move it often!  Move so many muscles have to work, and so your heart has to work a little harder.  Maybe you enjoy the garden, weeding done often enough becomes a rowing exercise, or leaning over to pick up branches and mulch can become a dead lift.  Many movements around house cleaning can benefit a wide range of muscle movement, reaching up can be like a shoulder press, push and pulls movements can strengthen your chest and back.  Any movement done often enough, vigorous enough, can be considered ‘exercise’.   We all walk, why not do it longer, harder or faster?  Pick up the knees, move in other directions?  So many ways we can move our bodies, and change how we do to benefit other muscle groups as well!

Easy ways to get exercise-
  • Walking, running- neighborhood, roads, trails
  • Dancing
  • House cleaning- Vacuuming, scrubbing
  • Garden/Yard- Weeding, raking, moving soil & equipment, wood
  • Various sports- basketball, snowshoeing, biking
  • Exercise equipment- stability ball, bands, weights, body weight
  • Playground- act like a kid!
  • Errands and shopping- park a distance away for more benefit, move vigorously
  • Recreation centers/classes- many options
  • Consider other activities you enjoy
Enjoy the feel

How do you know if you are doing it right? Is your heart beating a little more?  Do you have a variety of muscles working harder?  Are you doing this or other activities many times in the week?  All these could qualify for exercise if done long enough.  But what really could matter is developing your awareness around your movement.  Feel your body moving, how can you really savor that your body is feeling strong, capable (or that you are moving in that direction)?  How can you use this to extend your longevity?  Really appreciate all the different ways we can move our bodies!

Sure, you might need to supplement with exercises/movements that focus in on a certain group of muscles, such a core (these are very important in body stabilization, balance, and the body’s overall ability to be strong), so learn simple things you can do at home.  There are many exercises you can do with just your own body weight.  But the key is to remember why this is important to you.   You might not like some of these, but what is the bottom line you are trying to get to?  Lesser weight?  Reduced chances of illness or chronic disease? More mobility and strength to do your everyday activities?  Then, if this is important to you, you will do what it takes.  Really.  When your desire for result overcomes your dislike for sweat, and your readiness to be responsible for your health supersedes your undermining saboteur who just wants to find that magic pill, then you will start, and succeed, at making movement part of your life!

But, is this exercise?

Any movement done often, for a length of time, with enough vigor, qualifies as exercise!  Move to get stronger and increase flexibility; move to increase your cardiovascular endurance.  It won’t be easy starting a new habit, but have faith in you!  Move your body, and move it often!  You can change for good and improve your health.  If you want support, ideas of how you can incorporate healthy movement into your life, please contact me for a complementary discovery session. This is a creative process, and through coaching we can uncover your best ways to unlock your success to have healthy movement enrich your life and wellbeing!