Land sakes, it’s like a DIRTY WORD, isn’t it? There’s so much angst and anxiety, social tension and expectation piled into that one word that it hurts to even ponder it. Which is a real shame because, exercise? It’s really good for you. Yes, you. All of you. Pretty much without exception. In fact, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and use the S-word: To keep it in good, working condition for as long as possible, you should find ways to regularly move, groove, and exercise your physical form.
There are studies – oh, are there ever studies – that talk about how fat people can be fit and thin people can be less fit, and we can argue all day long about the finer points of those studies. But let’s not. Let’s instead focus on the fact that – aside from the physically fragile, infirm, and extremely elderly – exercise is recommended for everybody. That doctors, nutritionists, fitness instructors, wellness coaches, scientists, and experts of all stripes want EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US to incorporate regular movement into our lives. They don’t care how much or little we weigh, how old we are, what we do for a living, if we’re differently abled, pregnant, or woefully uncoordinated. They want us to exercise because it keeps our systems strong, keeps our bodies in good repair. There are no studies recommending sedentary life or advising the avoidance of exercise.
And those experts? They also don’t care if we’re new mothers, working multiple jobs, suffering from depression, facing new or difficult physical challenges, or any number of other factors that may make exercise seem even more difficult, daunting, and chore-like. They still point out that cardio is good for our hearts and lungs, and women are more likely to suffer from heart disease. They still remind us that weight training is especially important to women because we lose bone density with age. They may even gently suggest that regular exercise can help with mood and stress levels.
And here’s the thing: Exercise doesn’t have to mean three sweaty hours in a humanity-packed gym. Exercise doesn’t have to hack a giant chunk off of your already-scarce free time. Exercise doesn’t even have to be “exercise!” Think of it this way: Make sure you move your body – vigorously and enthusiastically – a couple of times each day. Forget exercise, just move. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Park further from your destination and get a little walk in. Do some wall push-ups. Go out dancing on Saturday night instead of hitting a bar or restaurant. Bench press a toddler and watch her giggle with glee. Plank or do a few sit-ups during your favorite TV shows. Check these recommendations if you’re facing a physical challenge or healing from an injury. Exercise can be a burden, but movement can be easy and fun. It can! No, I’m serious, you guys. And besides all that, it’s a key component to long-term self-care.
How do YOU incorporate movement into your life? What’s your favorite way to move your body? I’d love to hear about some non-traditional exercise options!
Image courtesy ian