A colleague of mine who specializes in happiness has been conducting an online poll to find out what one thing people do that always makes them happier. Some of the activities reported are spending time with friends, vacations, reading, gardening, etc. Now, online readers are voting on the activities. The activity with the most votes so far-exercise.
For those of you who exercise regularly, you already know this. I’m talking now to people who don’t or who only do it sporadically. There are no acceptable excuses unless you are very sick. It is even recommended for those with chronic pain, (with a physician’s guidance of course.) If you are saying that you don’t have time, what you are actually saying is that you have chosen not to make it a priority.
One of my best friends with small children took them with her, one in the stroller, the other on her back. Both of those kids are now very athletic, lean, and healthy because mom and dad have exercised all their lives.
I think many people don’t exercise because they’ve read that one should do a minimum of 30 minutes of something. Let’s amend that to just doing something for a few minutes in the beginning. If you are weak from chronic pain or illness, then do five minutes either sitting, standing, or walking. I don’t want to get out of my area of expertise, but I feel confident in saying some exercise is better than none.
Abundant research findings are unequivocal that exercise is good for your overall health and even brain function. It also improves depression; I always prescribe it for depressed and anxious clients.
You don’t have to go to a gym. If you are self-motivated, then do it in your own home. There is a wonderful website with every type of exercise DVD conceivable, www.collagevideo.com. You can preview videos and even return them if you don’t like the workout or if it’s too difficult. There are workouts for seniors, expectant mothers, beginners, and jocks. They are divided into workout level, type, and staff favorites. You can mix up segments to suit how you are feeling. I’ve used this website for 20 years and have a collection of videos to suit every mood and how I’m feeling physically and mentally.
Keep trying to find an exercise you enjoy, walking is probably the best place to start. No skill required and you can increase the difficulty by increasing your speed or walking up an incline. Swim, bike, even march in place in front of the TV, whatever floats your boat.
Remember-if you only do one thing to be happier and healthier, let it be EXERCISE!!