Many people, in the course of their first visit with me, say, “Health Coaching sounds like a good thing, and I know I need some help changing my diet, but I’m not one for much exercising. How important is it?”
The short answer is: it’s very important, and maybe for some reasons you haven’t thought about.
Full disclosure here – even at the peak of my fitness prowess, I was never one to spend hours in a gym, and I have never had the benefit of a professional trainer. I don’t think either is necessary, although many people are helped by having paid a fee of one sort or another. There is certainly a benefit to having to be a certain place at a certain time. Routine makes getting important things done easier in many cases.
So if you’re looking for support to help you get done in the movement department what you know needs doing, get thee to a gym or fitness center and let them woo you into better self-care.
However you manage it, regular exercise, in study after study, is shown to reveal its vast advantages to staying healthier longer.
Being sedentary is just plain dangerous to your health. In fact, people who habitually sit have as much risk of dying early as people who have bad diets or smoke. Lack of exercise also increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Put frankly, the lower your fitness engagement, the higher your health risk.
That said, let’s be clear about exercise won’t do. We hear from the government and the food industry that people should just eat less, choose a ”balanced diet,” and exercise more. Is that formula working well for you?
The point is that you cannot exercise your way to good health. All the exercise in the world, without improving your diet, maybe substantially, is asking for failure. You may gain some muscle, improve endurance, but you won’t lose weight and you probably won’t be healthier overall.
Consider this. If you drink one 20-ounce soda, it will take a 41/2 mile walk to burn it off. If you consume one supersize fast-food meal, it will take a 4 mile run every day for a week to burn it off. Should you eat that sort of thing, also quite available foods other than soda and fast food, every day, it would take running a marathon every day to burn it off. It isn’t just a calorie in – calorie out operation here.
On the other hand, combining a whole, unprocessed diet, with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, combined with the right exercise does wonders for your health.
The benefits of a good exercise program are numerous!
I have prepared special cheat sheet Top 10 Reasons to Exercise for you to put in highly visible place.
So, it’s Spring! This is the best time to begin or add to an exercise program. If exercise hasn’t been a regular part of your life, begin with some brisk walking. Thirty minutes is a good starting place, but if 5 slow minutes is where you are, start there. Building up time and speed gradually is an excellent motivator to continue the movement. Intensity and other kinds of exercises can be added as you are ready. Begin where you are. The rest will follow.
But, How to do it with my busy hectic schedule?” you may ask. Here are some strategies that may help.
1. Make it a priority and plan ahead. We are more likely to follow through on a commitment to ourselves if we make it easy for ourselves. Get your comfortable clothes and your sneakers out of the closet, and have them ready.
2. Try it first thing in the morning before distractions of the day start taking over. Then it’s time for dinner and the important thing didn’t happen. Exercising early, first thing, will jump-start your metabolism and give you a much more energetic start to your day.
3. Make it fun. While exercise can become a loveless drudge “have-to” sort of thing, a playful attitude and a little creativity can keep it all fun. Vary your routine, find a friend to join you, keep your exercise seasonal, join a team, or take a zumba or yoga class. It helps to keep expanding your program so that you can do different activities almost every day of the week. My own routine is to swim twice a week, bike twice a week, either outside with friends in nice weather, or on my trainer in the dark cold months, walk twice a week, attend a yoga class or two a week, and work with weights twice week.
It’s Spring! Move early, move often in as many ways you can think of to move those muscles and limbs. Start where you are and make it fun!
Get your free cheat sheet Top 10 Reasons to Exercise.
It’s Spring! Let’s Move!