My Thoughts About Exercise and Lifestyle..
We know exercise is good for us, but making it part of our daily lives is not that simple. Like you I struggle to keep it a non-negotiable part of my lifestyle. What motivates me, particularly on those stressed out and exhausted days, is how happy and energized I feel afterwards and how proud I feel for doing the right thing for myself. My goal is to make exercise an established habit for myself.
Exercise makes my children and I feel good!
If the promise of long life is not working for you, maybe the promise of happiness will? As a Mom with two awesome teenagers I can feel guilty going off to exercise class. What’s interesting is, they encourage me to go. We are better together afterwards and laugh a lot more. They know that I have been seriously ill and some of our dear friends have died, so they worry. But maybe they see exercise as an insurance policy? They both exercise too, one is in an athletic club and trains 4 days a week and the other plays for two field hockey teams and also trains 4 days a week. On vacation they like to ski and surf and to relax deeply as they take time to recharge. Suits me just fine!
Exercise an established habit.
I’m delighted my children love sports and training 4 days a week. I can safely say exercise is now an established habit for both of them. They love it and again that suits me just fine, I don’t have to stress discipline or time-management.
You gotta wanna.
Making the decision to integrate exercise into your day is the hardest part and being indecisive can be stressful. But please remember it is never too late and today is the first day of the rest of your life. Daily exercise is for every stage of our lives, as children, in college, at work, marriage, parenting, retirement and all during old age, to help each one of us enjoy a happier healthier life. Of course like everything, you can over do it, show up unprepared and even injure yourself as some of my patients can attest to.
Preparation is king.
No matter your style of exercising I recommend you work with experienced coaches or trainers who are all about your safety and earning your trust. It’s not just about showing up and jumping into a weight training class or running a 5km. So many people get injured and end up in physiotherapy clinics just like mine because they make the decision but then go straight from a sitting job to intense bouts of exercise. Ouch!
There is so much to learn about being healthy.
Its not all about exercise, there are several other things you may wish to learn that will compliment your efforts and improve your results. For example;
- getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night,
- why aerobics in the morning before breakfast burn more fat,
- which diets best support your lean muscle development,
- what is so important about hydration and flexibility,
- when core strength and posture are your first step,
- how warm ups protect and prepare your body,
- how pacing allows you to progress and succeed without injury,
- how cool downs speed up your recovery,
- how mental preparation and breathing connect your mind and body and builds your inner strength.
So my advice is to find a highly trained professional trainer or coach in your area of interest who will answer your questions and learn everything you can from them. You may also read more about these topics here on this website in the very near future.
Find your exercise style!
Take a pause and assess your lifestyle! Are you on track for health and happiness? Are you feeling your best and looking even better? If you already love exercise and are comfortable in your body, then you may just need to revisit your beliefs and practices and make sure you have sound and current information. Exercise and Health is big business with many stakeholders. Its important to be critical and to check the evidence and its source.
If you exercise regularly but have aches and pain in your joints or spine you may benefit from an assessment by your doctor or physiotherapist to check for muscle tightness, biomechanical stress or pathology. You may wish to reconsider changing from high impact exercise like road running, to lower impact cycling. Switching is hard to do, but remember who the beneficiary is and why pro-action and prevention is smarter than the cure.
If you are just starting out with regular exercise and are painfree, then its important to start wherever you are at and to progress patiently under the guidance of professionals who can help you with weight lifting technique, aerobic progression and lean muscle dietary support to reduce your risk of injury and so you proceed with a winning mix.
If you are just starting out with regular exercise and uncomfortable in your spine or joints I advise you first see your medical professionals such as your Chartered Physiotherapist to assess your readiness and to treat any existing issues.
Exercise and Seasonal Fun and Games.
My social life is geared around seasonal activities such as skiing and snowshoeing in the mountains in winter and playing tennis and golf all through the long summer days. This is good time spent with friends and family. So when I exercise I match the specifics of these activities with my exercise choices. For example to prepare for ski season I work on legs and balance and for golf and tennis I work on spinal flexibility, arm strength and explosive speed. For me nothing beats snowshoeing with friends and family in Vermont or a game of golf on the links courses on Donegal’s coast!
If you would like to share how you have integrated exercise into your lifestyle and how it has benefitted you, please do! Or if you have a comment or question please do not hesitate to contact me directly here via email.
Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.