Years ago, when I had plenty of time and little responsibility (no spouse/no kids), I held a gym membership. You would think that the cost of the membership would keep me on track, at least to get my money’s worth. I was a faithful member for a while, but eventually slacked off.
Sometimes I would go with my friend Sheryl to exercise before work. But I wasn’t a morning person, so that was short-lived. I usually trekked over to the gym after work with my sister, Leslie. At first it was fun, learning the steps and routines in the aerobics class and then figuring how to work with the weights. But after the novelty wore off, so did my interest.
People often state how great they feel after a workout, partially due to those endorphins (pleasure hormones) being activated along with the sense of accomplishment. That was never my experience. After the workout I just wanted to shower and prepare for the next task, which was usually dinner and dessert.
Now that I’m older and perhaps wiser, I think differently. A book that I often refer to paints a vivid picture of the benefits of exercise. Author and physician Don Colbert said in his book, The Seven Pillars of Health: The Natural Way to Better Health for Life, that “stirring the waters with exercise is essential for you to prevent bodily stagnation.” He then explained that since our bodies are 2/3 water, we need to stir the waters! Think what happens when that water lies dormant. Picture a body of water such as a puddle or standing water in a ditch. If it remains still for long, it gets covered with gunk and eventually becomes toxic and can breed disease. Now think about a similar process happening in the bodies of people who don’t exercise – not a pretty sight is it? Exercise, Colbert went on to say, “refreshes your body and clears it of toxins and cellular garbage, sharpening your mind and giving you strength and energy.”
Walking is now my exercise of choice. Apparently, my endorphins respond very well to this type of exercise. I become excited at the thought of taking long walks, whether it’s at the rec center with my mom, walking on the beach with a friend or taking walks with hubby in the evenings after dinner. I find it relaxing, even though my stride is typically long, and my steps are brisk. After the walk, I feel energized, and ready to take on the world. Knowing the many benefits of exercise and that I am being good to myself also provide me with a deep sense of satisfaction.
What’s the lesson here? Find a form of exercise that suits your taste. There are plenty of armchair exercises available if you’re physically limited. Otherwise, dance around your house for 10-15 minutes. Play with your kids or grandkids. Walk up and down your stairs five to seven times. That will get your heart rate up and push those calf muscles, so don’t forget to stretch!
Lynne B. Ford is an author and wellness entrepreneur in Pawleys Island. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.