Let’s look at the 1st tool in the toolbox – Exercise
Some love it and others hate it. I’m one of those who love it. I’ve always been active. I spent my childhood running round the entire time. I danced, I swam and I played. I never engaged much in formal sport, but would kick a ball round with the boys or join in with my neighbours playing cricket. I was never still. Just as well, as I barely ate food, but consumed impressive amounts of sweets. I have always remained very active.
Whenever work allows, I start every day with some form of exercise. I go to the gym or a yoga class or I go for a long walk. I genuinely enjoy it. It gets me away from my desk and computer and clears my head.
I do realize that not everyone feels the same way and that it’s a real effort for some. If you’re one of those, I can promise that once you make exercise part of your regular routine, the rewards will far outweigh the negatives. As you start to reap the benefits, ie. weight loss, muscle toning, increase in stamina and the release of feel good endorphins, you will wonder how you ever did without it. ( Trust me, you will get quite partial to that little endorphin rush!)
So why is exercise so important? I have put it first on my list as personally, I believe it to be the most important aspect of healthy living.
I’m not alone in this belief. Sports medicine professor Wayne Derman of the University of Cape Town says that “Exercise is the closest thing to an anti-ageing pill.” Yup, read that sentence again!
Exercise offers a huge array of benefits. It reduces stress, benefits hormone production, boosts metabolic rate, builds and maintains muscles, improves bone-mass density (reducing risk of osteoporosis), strengthens the heart, and gets the blood flowing ,which is a wonderful way of getting nutrients to your skin. It also makes you sweat (hopefully) thereby ridding you of toxins and in this day and age we are all pretty much laden with toxins.
There are many types of exercise.
Aerobic activities such as fast walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, cycling etc, increase your ability to burn fat and calories and strengthen the heart.
Resistance training such as weight training builds muscle (otherwise lost as you age) and boosts hormone production (which also declines as we age).
Stretching such as yoga or pilates keeps our joints mobile and flexible. (I have recently joined a hot yoga class and absolutely love it)
Stretching and keeping those joints moving is not to be underestimated.
I think it’s important to do a bit of everything.
The key is to do something you enjoy. For some, that will be joining a Zumba class, for others a cycle or a jog might be enjoyable. For those who are seriously out of shape or who loathe exercise, why not start by walking for 20 minutes a day? Increase your pace as your stamina improves. Walk in a beautiful park or somewhere you love.
And how often? For years it was thought 2 or 3 times a week, but now we know we should exercise every day for at least 20 minutes. I always have at least one day off a week, but I aim to do something 6 days a week. It doesn’t always work out that way of course, as appointments and work get in the way, but I try.
If you can only manage 2 or 3 times a week, that is still a lot better than doing nothing.
The important thing is to challenge yourself, mix it up and do something you find fun.
This is a real gift to yourself. Time for just you. No phone calls or things to deal with.
Go on, treat yourself.
Your first step to glowing health.