The Fifth Essential to Good Health is....
"Your body was created to move - and move often. Activity increases your circulation, speeding oxygen, nutrients, and water to your cells. Your Lymphatic System requires activity to purge your body of deadly toxins. Activity also triggers your brain to release health-giving hormones and enzymes, which lift your spirit while they bolster your immune system. A small investment in daily moderate activity will enable you to reap tremendous health benefits." (from the TriVita philosophy.....see post on Essential #1 for detail)
If you have been around this blog for awhile, you know that 'Exercise' is not something I easily incorporate into my life. My passions are all sedentary....reading, learning, crafting, art, photography, writing. HOWEVER, it is not that I do not like exercise, because when I actually discipline myself to get started on some kind of exercise routine I enjoy it quite thoroughly. I think the problem is in the sentence before where I note my 'passions'. Exercise (or activity) has never been a passion in my life. I'm not a person who absolutely MUST be outside or who LOVES to play golf or walk or swim or garden even. (It is no wonder that I've spent my entire life battling extra weight.) Because it has never been a passion, I am easily 'derailed' from my routine.
Here's a thought, though......if I've spent my whole life trying to lose weight, and EXERCISE has been something I've been told I must do in order to lose that weight, then how could it ever be any more than a discipline? Something I HAD to do, whether I wanted to or not. Nobody had to tell me, as a child, to go out and play Run Sheep Run with the other kids in the neighborhood....or go ride my bike for miles every day, exploring the town and visiting my friends. (Of course, I was a child many years ago - it was safe for kids to have more freedom in the 60's) No, I was active without being told to be active. I was having fun, not 'exercising'.
As I grew into my teens, it was no longer 'cool' to be running around or riding my bike all over town and I began to put a little weight on. It wasn't a whole lot, really, but I felt like I was huge.....too fat to go swimming. Too fat to play ball. Too fat to ride a bike or go hiking or any number of things that would have been fun. So, because I thought I was too fat to be active, I gradually became too fat.
During this whole time, the only kind of activity I felt even close to comfortable with was what was considered 'weight loss exercise' because of course, you are never too fat to lose weight, right? But the exercise classes, gym memberships, home gym equipment all served to emphasize to me what I thought I knew.....I was too fat, and (as my blog title says) a failure.
Exercise became a punishment for being fat.
What if I could change my mind about activity/exercise? What if my focus wasn't on how much weight I might lose or how many calories are burned, but on the health benefits of activity. (As the above quote focuses on) Would I begin to think differently about movement?
A HEALTHY lifestyle is my goal, afterall, not a specific weight.
I've never thought about how activity aids my body in the work it was meant to do (other than making my muscles stronger). Everyone has heard that exercise increases the 'happy hormones' that 'lift your spirit', but I've never heard before that exercise actually boosts the immune system.
There's a new H1N1 remedy.....exercise.
Want to avoid having colds this winter? Go for a walk.
Want to 'cleanse' your body of toxins? go dancing.
Feeling depressed? Ride a bike.
Want to live longer? Exercise.
I'm not saying I won't use the exercise equipment, weights, or DVD's.....just that maybe if I start to focus on the health benefits more than the feeling of exercise being a 'punishment' for being fat, just maybe I can become a person who includes some kind of activity in her list of passions.
How about you? Is exercise a passion or a punishment for you?