Healthy exercise… If we could put all the good things that regular, moderate exercise does for us in a pill; it would be the most popular pill in the world. It would make the pharmaceutical companies rich… or richer. We would all want to take it.
Science proves that exercise makes you feel good; rejuvenates your heart and circulation; makes your joints, muscles, and bones stronger; and improves your overall health, your natural healing. If you think exercise is not for you, or you don’t have time for it, think again: “Given that exercise adds an average of seven years to your life, you’re saving time when exercising,” says Christiane Northrup, MD, in Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.
For most of us, starting a healthy exercise habit requires replacing old beliefs and habits that no longer serve us with new ones that rejuvenate our body and soul.
Your success quadruples if you choose an activity you enjoy.
What’s Your Healthy Exercise Activity?
Take a few deep breaths and reflect on activities you enjoyed when younger.
What comes to mind? Are you swimming, riding a bike, hiking, walking, dancing, or playing a favorite sport?
Take a few moments to renew and re-experience this activity in your imagination. Savor the good feelings, the energy, and the aliveness.
Most of us will recall multiple activities. Choose one or two that you want to renew. It might be one of these popular healthy exercise activities.
Walking. Walking is the most popular healthy exercise. You’ll start gaining health benefits right away, that will build with every step you take.
Increase your walking time gradually with your comfort level as you guide. Make your goal 30 to 45 minutes of brisk walking 5-days a week. See “Walking for Health: 6 Habit Making Tips” for more on walking.
Swimming. Second in popularity to walking, swimming works all your muscles and comes in many forms: lap swimming, water aerobics, and water walking too. Although not as simple and convenient as walking, it has its advantages.
Water cushions the impact of exercise making it great for those with arthritis and other joint, bone or muscle conditions. The buoyancy of water also helps prevent falls for those with balance problems.
Lap swimming burns twice as many calories per hour while water aerobics and water walking burn about the same number of calories as walking does, says the May 2010, Mayo Clinic Health Letter.
Dancing. Dancing comes in many forms: ballroom dancing, square dancing, modern dance, and Nia, to name a few. Dance not only gets you moving, it livens the spirit and can be magical and freeing.
“Very little is known in our day about the magic which resides in movement, and the potency of certain gestures. The number of physical movements that most people make through life is extremely limited. Having stifled and disciplined their movements in the first stages of childhood, they resort to a set of habits seldom varied,” says Isadora Duncan.
Duncan invites us to reunite with our true self and spirit through movement and dance.
Some newer dance forms like Nia and InterSati, fuse martial arts, yoga, jazzercise, and other forms of expression with mind body healing methods like imagery and affirmations. You can find out more on these forms of dance at www.NiaNow.com and www.intensati.com.
More.There are plenty of ways to enjoy healthy exercise. You may want to renew a loved sport such as baseball, or try yoga, or use indoor exercise equipment such as a treadmill, cycling bike, Nordic skiing, or rowing.
Combine aerobic exercises with weight training exercises or isometric exercises like the OsteoBall Bonefitness Exerciser. Consider experimenting; try a few different activities before deciding which best suits you.
Having a couple of exercise activities helps prevent boredom and injury from repetition.
Some find joining a gym or using a personal trainer helpful. You can also join community-organized exercise groups related to your favorite activity. They’re often provided by hospitals or community colleges.
If you’re over 40 or have a health condition check with your health provider before beginning strenuous exercise.
Most of all, remember that the priceless, magic pill of healthy exercise benefits lies within you. All you have to do is exercise to release it.
Begin your favorite exercise today. Buy an exercise DVD, invite a friend for a walk, or check out what’s available in your community.
Have fun doing it. Healthy exercise works best when doing an activity you enjoy!