Updated: Apr 25, 2019
We’ve all heard this time and again. We need to exercise for good health. The benefits of exercise are numerous: reduction in stress and anxiety, improved cognitive function, improved sleep, better sex life and prevention of many diseases that are rampant in our society today, including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. If we want to prevent disease and have a good quality of life as we age, it’s essential that we keep moving! As I like to say, “move it, or lose it!”
So, what is it that keeps us from getting in regular exercise?
Well, for most of us it revolves around our mindset about exercise. Joseph Pilates said, “It’s the mind itself that shapes the body.” Do we think of exercise as a chore, and therefore come up with every excuse under the sun? In short, yes! We KNOW we should, but because of our attitude, and very often our busy lifestyles, we just don’t have the energy! Ironic, isn’t it?!
Studies show that making small changes to our behavior can produce better results. Instead of vowing to go from zero to hero and working out five days a week, try setting a smaller goal that you are guaranteed to achieve! Start with getting to the gym, or going for a walk one day a week for several weeks. Once that becomes a habit, you can up your workout to twice a week.
It also helps to have an accountability partner. Be it a friend that you walk with, or a trainer that you meet on a regular basis, it’s much easier to stay committed when you have someone to encourage and motivate you!
If the word exercise is off-putting and you are not the gym “type”, then focus on MOVING YOUR BODY. The key is in movement! Do what you enjoy: tennis, swimming, biking, yoga, walking, hiking, running, basketball, gardening, mowing the lawn, dancing and taking your kids to the playground for a good old fashioned game of tag! Of course, our lives change as we shift from young adults with more time on our hands, to mothers and fathers working full-time jobs and playing taxi-driver to get our kids to their sports and activities. It is helpful to accept the changes in routine, but that doesn’t mean that you give up! Remember, your kids are watching and you are setting the stage for their future health by modeling the behavior that they will surely mimic years down the road!
My own fitness routine has changed over the years. Back in the 80’s I joined the aerobics craze and worked out at Lady Fitness several times a week, high-cut leotards, leg-warmers and all! In the late 90’s I got into running and ran 5k’s on a regular basis. I loved the energy of running with a big crowd of people, early in the morning! As our family grew my routine changed again and I got back into swimming and then lots of playtime with our younger children at the park. And now, in my early 50’s, I enjoy walking, hiking, swimming, yoga and pilates. And mowing the lawn. That’s my jam! My friend Sarah, who is a mother of SIX, gets up before dawn to get in her workout most every day! She believes that starting the day with exercise as the sun is coming up is the best way to energize the body and soul!