Monday, June 28, 2010

Learn to Crave Exercise!

After forty-three years, I finally figured out how to take care of my body.  It has been a learning process the whole way.  I want to share with you how I convinced myself that exercise is essential to my life.

Here are three very good reasons for my exercise:  Tim, Ben and Natalie.

I exercise six out of seven days for about forty-five minutes a day.  The CDC suggests that adults be moderately active for 150 minutes each week with two or more days for strength training.  That works out to be 25 minutes a day for six days.  I believe Americans can do better than that.  We need to incorporate less siting and more movement during the day.  I carry a pedometer in my pocket and track my steps everywhere I go.  It is recommended that your average American take  10,000 steps a day.  If you take 10,000 steps a day, you are walking the equivalent of 5 miles.

You might ask me, how do you get that many steps in during the course of the day.  I measure the steps I take during my forty-five minutes of exercise.  I also try to incorporate walking when I can.  If I drive to a store, I take a parking spot that is further away from my destination.  I add an evening walk around the neighborhood if I haven't been active enough for the day.  In other words, I try not to sit for long periods of time.

Another approach that has helped me is to exercise right after waking up.  By doing that, I don't procrastinate and find an excuse not to work out.  I have mentally trained myself to expect exercise early in the morning.

Do I feel like working out every day?  No.  Do I enjoy myself every time I exercise?  I struggle some mornings.  Do I think it is a waste of my time?  Definitely not.

I rationalize my physical activity with the belief that exercise staves off heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis to name a few ailments.  I also view physical activity as a way to avoid knee replacement surgery (which has affected a couple of family members already).  In other words, there are ruinous consequences if I don't exercise.  That thought is enough to keep me off the couch.

An additional motivator for exercise is the mental health benefits.  Aerobic activity and weight training are great for relieving stress.  I know that if I haven't exercised, I am crankier, tenser and less relaxed.  Once I have completed my body conditioning for the day, I feel calmer.

A third personal motivator for exercise is my children.  I want to be able to keep up with them as we grow older together.  They are playing soccer, baseball and basketball.  If I didn't exercise on a regular basis, I wouldn't be able to jump, dash or play catch with them.  Both aerobic exercise and strength training have helped me to keep up with the kids.

Yes, exercise can be a pain but the results from it far exceed the short term discomfort.  I avoid sedentary habits by exercising first thing in the morning and walk constantly.  Furthermore,  I can avoid major health problems, be relaxed and stay youthful.  That is why I crave exercise.

Think about fashioning a new active lifestyle.  Consider your motivators and utilize them with your physical routine.  Soon you will be developing a love affair with exercise.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done! But you didn't even comment about the fun of endorphins!!!

    -Cousin Lia