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I used to be just like any of you. I always have a reason for not exercising, the most common excuse being not having enough time to exercise. I can’t really say I am lying because I am not. I am indeed caught up with work, wifely and mommy duties. Another reason is that I am the type that could eat anything and everything I want and still not gain a pound. However, I came to a point when I decided I should make my lifestyle more active and healthy.
Fitness for Life: Why Exercise Is Not Just A Phase
The death of a high school friend due to heart attack and being overweight, losing my father due to cancer, friends and colleagues suffering from lifestyle diseases in their early thirties — these are the things that made me think twice about exercise. These made me realize that our body is a vessel and a gift from God. It is up to us to take care of it because just like any other material things, it is also subject to wear and tear.
I know how exercise can benefit me. I’ve been there before. I have seen and experienced it myself. Back in my college days, I used to go to the gym more for muscle toning. Treadmills were the first area I would visit first and I found such great joy cycling for 30 minutes or even more if I felt like it. It felt like every stress and anxiety I have is swept away with each pedal I made. I simply love the feeling of lifting weights and being in the gym surrounded by health-conscious people.
Actually it is the endorphins I should give thanks to. It helps lift the mood, eases away anxiety and stress, makes you more relaxed, sharpens mental capacity and helps boost the energy. Exercise does all the good things you can think of to your body. It increases our resting heart rate thus helping our heart adjust better to stress and high impact activities. It keeps our joints and muscles more flexible even as we age. Strength training also helps build muscles and mass.
Like what I have mentioned before, there are various things that are keeping us from exercising. Some of the most common reasons I’ve heard are:
“I am too busy to with my work or my family”
“I find exercising difficult and painful”
“I am too old to exercise”
“I find exercise boring”
Sounds familiar, right? However, you do not need to dedicate that much time to exercising. In fact, it is easier than you think. I am not talking about an exercise program you should adhere to regularly. Exercise can be a part of your lifestyle — permanently. Be constantly on the move every day. Clean the house, do the dishes, sweep the floor, mow the lawn, wash the car. Ride a bike to work. Walk if you need to go somewhere near. Take the stairs when you are in the mall. Jog or go to the park with a friend or family. It is easier to start exercising if you have somebody to join you. Walking is never boring if you get to talk with somebody.
You do not need to enroll yourself to the gym to start exercising. Ideally, you need to do a combination of these three types of exercises — aerobic, flexibility and strengthening exercises. Start with simple stretching exercises while watching TV. Walking and bicycling are aerobic or cardio exercises. Swimming is a good and fun aerobic activity too. For strengthening exercises, try a litre of mineral water bottle on each hand. They can substitute for dumbbells. Try yoga or zumba classes. They are definitely more fun than lifting weights at the gym or walking on treadmill alone.
Being consistent with exercise is an everyday struggle. The key to continue doing it is motivation. Get inspired by others. Reward yourself with little things or treat yourself on weekends for adhering to your exercise/active lifestyle routine. Get your family and friends to start living an active lifestyle too. You will be surprised at how easy it is to make it a habit if you are surrounded by people who have the same goals and principles in life as you.