Give a Little Bit
"Those who think that they have no time for bodily exercise
will sooner or later have to find time for illness."
Looking over all of the blog's that I've written these past three years, it occurred to me that there are only three topics that I have yet to explore: diet, sex and the dreaded E word (for those of you wondering what that might stand for, it's exercise, though you didn't hear it from me!). Yet, it's a well known fact, based on thousands of studies that, if you truly wish to experience optimum levels of radiant health and well-being, then you'll have to start moving your body (well, you don't 'have' to, but you might want to, if feeling good is something you wish to do on a regular basis).
This became clear to me back in 1996, when, at the ripe old age of 36, I found myself at 200 pounds, and on the verge of being put on high blood pressure medicine. I was also experiencing stomach problems from an acidic diet that saw me popping zantac everyday. Luckily, feeling shitty, and not being able to button my pants inspired me to join a running group that trained together to run a marathon in Hawaii. Not only did I finish the race, but I also dropped 20 pounds along the way and avoided going on blood pressure medicine (I also ended up moving to Hawaii 7 years after that marathon, but that's a whole other story). Since then, I have run an average of three times per week, while also practicing and teaching tai chi, qigong and yoga.
I say all of this, not to convince you to start running, but to illustrate the healing power that moving your body has on, not only your physical body, but on your mind and spirit as well. This is because of the serotonin and dopamine, those yummy feel-good chemicals, that are released in the brain when we exercise, and often leave us feeling euphoric and 'high' after a workout. Besides that, exercise lowers stress, boosts the immune system and helps you to sleep better, among a hundred other benefits. Though you might have committed yourself to moving your body countless times in the past, only to watch your resolve go by the wayside at the slightest distraction, the key to sticking with it is to find something that you truly enjoy doing, and have the discipline to stick with it - no matter what!
Whether it's walking, qigong, riding a stationary bike, water aerobics or tennis (or a combination of these), pick something that you like and do it at least 4 times per week for at least 40 minutes, no matter what excuse the mind may throw at you to stop. Enjoyable is the key word here, as you are not likely to continue with anything that you don't find enjoyable. And if, for whatever reason, you get lazy and stop; instead of beating yourself up, simply begin again, over and over if you must, for the rest of your life. If radiant health, and feeling good on a consistent basis is what you truly want, then what are you waiting for?
"A vigorous five mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise
healthy adult than all of the medicine and psychology in the world."
Paul Dudley White