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An “Exercise” in Vitality The Missing Ingredient in Healthy Living

Last year before I went on my month-long trip to Ireland, I was dealing with a chronic pain issue. I was concerned about hiking, and all the walking I was going to be doing in Ireland. So instead of suffering, I got some help. I had scheduled some extra Craniosacral Sessions and a physical therapist to help me learn exercises and how to modify, so I had a successful and fabulous trip.

Well, I found that I did my exercises, listened to my body and walked ALOT! Walking really helped to strengthen my body, relieve the stress and improved my peace and well-being. I was pleasantly surprised at the healthy impact, as well as how effective walking one to three miles a day could be on a chronic issue.

What’s on the list of top 10 ways to reduce stress? Exercise.

One of the top 10 ways of relieving anxiety? Exercise.

Maintain good health? Exercise.

Reduce inflammation? Relieve depression? Build self-esteem? Improve confidence? Reduce tension? Improve mental sharpness and alertness? Enhance peace of mind and well-being? Increase immunity to certain diseases and health risks? Lose weight? Improve the quality of sleep? Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.

With a list like this, one might ask if there is any aspect of human life that isn’t helped by regular exercise. Not according to physical and mental health experts. Anyone and everyone who is concerned with health and well-being agrees: Physical activity is a vital component for optimum physical and emotional health. Regular exercise is the key to increasing the quality of life. Being active improves body, mind, and spirit.

Yet, a quarter of Americans get absolutely no exercise and nearly two-thirds get less than the recommended minimum amount of physical activity of 30 minutes several times a week. Fewer than 15 percent comply with the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations for adult fitness.

All this may be old news to those who put “Start Exercising” at the top of their New Year’s Resolutions each year, or those who say, “I know I should, but…” when friends or health professionals suggest a regular exercise routine. For many, 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week translates into much more time than the 60 minutes it implies.

If Exercise Is So Good For Us, Why Don’t We Do It?

“No time” is the reason most people offer when asked why they don’t exercise. And it’s true; most of our lives are busier than ever before. But the fact is, when something is important, when we are committed, when we really want something, we find the time for it. Look beneath the easy and ready excuse and you may find more complex reasons why people won’t start or can’t seem to stay with a regular exercise routine.

High stress: individuals who have too much stress can have every intention to exercise, but at the end of the day it doesn't happen. Why? Living in a chronic state of stress prolongs the 'Fight, Flight or Freeze' Response keeping the body stuck and trying to survive. It is exhausting to the body and mind.

Impatience: People want to get in great shape Right Now! Never mind that it took 20 years to get in the shape they’re in.

Unrealistic Expectations: Looking for the “perfect body” is a guaranteed set up for failure.

Denial: Many people are in denial that they might have health problems or suffer a debilitating disease.

Intimidation: The idea of failure or looking foolish or being a beginner intimidates many people into never starting an exercise program.

Bad experiences or painful memories: Experiences such as humiliation or sexual abuse, or old feelings of inadequacy or embarrassment can cause resistance to the idea of exercise.

Physical exercise is essential to good physical and emotional health and a sense of well-being.

If any of these reasons lay beneath the surface of your “not enough time” excuse, consider these suggestions:

  • Start slowly. 10 minutes of vigorous walking is a great way to start!

  • Get a buddy. Your friend is counting on you and vice versa.

  • Find an activity you like. This is a must!

  • Go for progress not perfection.

  • Modify or get help from an expert if you suffer from chronic pain.

  • Remember healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.

  • Don’t give up. If you miss a day, begin again the next day.

  • Be patient. All good things take time.

  • Congratulate yourself on your hard work and follow-through.

  • Ask for help if you need it.

Specialists in health and exercise matters also say that short bursts of exercise can be effective, too. Regular bouts of 10 to 15 minutes of aerobic “sparks,” such as dancing, an early morning walk, or a midday office stair climb, combined with a few strengthening exercises and stretching routines can have measurable physical and mental impact and you can improve your physical health and feel better.

Parking your car at the far end of the lot and walking to the mall, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and dancing through your housework can be the start of something good. Find your 'happy pace' and stick with it!

Here is to you living healthy, well and wise,


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