Be honest, does the word “fitness” make you groan inside, dreading the “E” word: “exercise”? If so, I want to help you change that response into a new, positive thought.
If you decide every new year to add “exercise” to your list of resolutions, let’s first look at the “why.” Is it because you want to lose weight? For most people, that is the “why.” What if you changed your mind about the why, and instead of “losing” something you don’t want (excess weight), made it about “gaining” something you do want: more energy! Would you like to gain more energy to do the things you love? First things first (and the easiest thing) …
Take five deep breaths, feeling that “Vitamin O” (oxygen) filling your lungs and body with invisible energy. Say these phrases to yourself, one with each inhale, I want more energy; I love having more energy; I can see myself having more energy; I believe I can feel more energy; I am experiencing more energy.
Do these five, deep breaths throughout the day with those five, silent, positive thoughts. See how you feel afterward – more energized? Do you doubt that deep, proper, breathing can reduce stress and give you more energy? Watch this short video to see dramatic proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiB2lYxj7Nc (Seriously, the videographer’s mouth was hanging open in disbelief as we filmed!)
These days, most people rely on caffeine-energy (counterfeit energy), because they’re sleep-deprived. (That’s a topic for another week.) There’s a much healthier way to increase your energy than caffeine, and your body can make it for free. All it takes is a small trade: Give a little energy to gain a LOT of energy.
The positive benefits of moving your body, specifically to work the muscles include:
- Energy, increased stamina – lots more energy!
- Human growth hormone production (the “youth” hormone)
- Mood enhancement – way better moods
- Detoxification (through the skin: perspiration, and lungs: respiration)
- It moves the lymph (helps immune system and detox)
- Improves circulation (eliminate chilliness, cold hands and feet)
- Longer lifespan
Studies show that you can add two years to your life simply by reducing the time you sit each day to less than three hours. Moreover, you can add 1.38 years to your life by watching less than two hours of television per day. Just think of all the terrific things you could do if you were to be given those extra years of healthy, happy life!
It may also help you lose weight, but with all those other benefits, should that be your only motivation? If you changed your mindset and made weight loss a minor reason, and all the others the major reasons, would it help you?
The wonderful thing is that you can add movement to your life right now, for free! You don’t need a gym membership, or special workout clothes, or even to leave your house to incorporate movement if you don’t want to. You can begin by doing simple movements right in your home.
Have FUN – the 1st word in “functional”
Make it joyful – put on your favorite music and dance as your make your meals or do the dishes. You can even move and sway as you fold laundry. You’d be surprised how much movement you can add to your day when you want to.
Squats do wonderful things for your body, and you can take quick breaks at your desk at work to do a few – it’s a great stress releaser.
Hold arms out straight in front of you, legs shoulder-width apart, feet straight ahead, and bend at the knees and hips, keeping your back as straight as possible. Go slow for maximum benefit for your thigh muscles.
Feel your muscles as you go down and back up, slowly. Imagine your feet rooted into the ground, like tree roots. Be present and meditate on your slow movements. Imagine you are pumping energy out of the earth and into your body, like pumping water up from a well, as you come back to the upright posture.
Add “belly breathing,” as you saw in the video. Try inhaling (with your belly going out) on the downward squat and pulling your bellybutton close to your spine while exhaling and rising back to an upright position. Feel your core strengthen as you exhale coming back to a standing posture.
If you struggle to get through your workday, try spending 10, 20, or 30 minutes exercising before or after work. You may get an hour or two’s worth of extra productivity in return. The endorphin euphoria is amazing. At the very least, take a brisk 10-minute walk during lunch or break time and see how wonderful it makes you feel.
I cannot overstate the importance of taking breaks and of regular movement. Get those jolly little elves – the happy endorphins – rushing through your body. Ride your bicycle or walk to work, if it’s feasible. You just might discover a healthy substitute for that mandatory cup of joe. (Think of the money you’ll save.) Want more inspiration? Listen to The Healing Revolution podcast, “How to Make Fitness Work for You – Not Against You” here.
Within just a few days, your body and mind will thank you. Your body will want you to continue, like a pet dog that fetches its leash, so it can “take you” on a walk. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your energy, strength and endurance will increase. And the mood enhancement benefits feel great, too.
You’ll love the new, positive, energized way you’ll feel after adding these simple tips to your daily routine. You may develop a happy glow, causing your friends to wonder if you have a new love in your life – you can smile and say, “I love my new fitness routine – it’s easy!”
Monitor Your Progress
Writing down your fitness goals makes them more tangible and helps you actualize them. Create your Self-Evaluation chart.
Take a sheet of paper, and at the top, write Fitness. Draw a line down the middle to create two columns. At the top of the left-hand column, write My Life-Destroying Choices. What life-destroying choices or habits in this one area of your life would you like to change? Write them in that column.
At the top of the right-hand column, write My Life-Affirming Choices. Pick some ideas from the ideas above that resonate with you and write them on this side. If any new life-affirming choices occur to you, write those, too. Ask yourself how you can bring greater energy and fitness into your life.
What changes can you make this week that will shift your balance sheet in this one area of your life from the Life-Destroying Choices over to the Life-Affirming Choices side? If you make even one or two of those changes every day this week, how might your life change?
To learn more about this Essential, download and listen to my podcast series on this topic. You can stream or download from iTunes, SoundCloud, UK Health Radio, Stitcher, TuneIn, or iHeartRadio. Listen while you drive, travel, walk, do housework, or work out.
The benefits of fitness go far beyond shrinking your waistline. You will experience a more joyful, energized, fulfilling life. Love it – live it.
Enjoy the journey!
 Katzmarzyk PT, Lee I-M. “Sedentary Behaviour and Life Expectancy in the USA: A Cause-Deleted Life Table Analysis,” British Medical Journal Open, February 2012, e000828, doi:10.1136.