Exercise is essential for good health. Literally every system in our body depends on movement for health. Without exercise our muscles become tight, our joints weak, our organs are not stimulated, our hormonal balance and metabolism malfunction, and our nervous systems are not nourished. In short, mentally and physically we become sick.
Despite our best efforts, our bodies do have a deep-seated urge to conserve energy. In times gone by our ancestors were required do strenuous work just to survive. In those times rest was a valued commodity. Unfortunately for us, our bodies remember this desire for rest—for energy conservation—to this day. After a day at the office it is all too easy to go home, turn on the television, eat a pint of ice cream and fall asleep!
If health and happiness are your goal, you must actively court exercise. You must create a plan to include exercise in your life. In order to stick to your plan it must be realistic and enjoyable. Think about what types of exercise you enjoy—running, bicycling, tennis, weightlifting, martial arts—etc. Make a list of these activities. Now, think about which ones you can implement into your life realistically. If you love to run and are living in Minnesota in the winter, you may have to buy a treadmill or join a gym. If you love to play tennis but don’t have a partner you may need to run an ad in the paper looking for a partner. Whatever you need to do to accommodate exercise in your life, do it.
Read the articles on cardiovascular exercise and strength training—they are both important! As you read, make a list of the various benefits of each type of exercise. When you need inspiration look at these lists. If you find it extremely hard to stay motivated, keep an “exercise journal”. Write down how you feel when you exercise consistently—when you find yourself in a slump refer back to your journal for inspiration.
If you have a specific physical challenge, see the page on therapeutic exercises--there you will find articles and videos demonstrating rehabilitative exercises. If you find yourself in need of motivation, check out the Motivation Worksheet.
Lastly, check out the links on the navigation bar on the left side of this page. They are routinely updated, and I hope that through them you will find inspiration and purpose in your exercise program!