{I am temporarily off my Friday OSC posting schedule but hope to return to it soon.}

I am going to make this post short and sweet, my friends, since my last post for One Simple Change was a little “heavy”.

Today I want to talk about the importance of moving your body (aka getting regular exercise).

I probably don’t need to tell you that exercise helps increase your metabolism (making it a must if you want to shed some pounds). It is also vital to heart health and good overall muscle tone, it reduces your risk of cancer and other diseases, it’s associated with better sleep, and it benefits you mentally. I think we all know that exercise is good for us, right?!

I personally have always been active, but as I’ve noted a few times right here on the blog, I have been rather sporadic about exercise over the past two years. In other words: I’ve been lazy. I’ve written post after post about how I was turning over a new leaf with a new exercise plan, but I still struggled through this winter to get my act together and exercise on a regular basis. So I get it when people say they can’t find the time or the motivation or “the whatever” to get enough exercise.

Because I’ve been super busy over the past month or so and because I tend to get really overwhelmed when I get super busy, I made it a point to start exercising regularly again. I firmly believe that this has kept my stress level in check, plus I just feel better. Healthier.

What does regular exercise mean to me lately? Well, it doesn’t mean going to a gym. Though I do go to karate classes once or twice a week and have for the past eight years, I otherwise prefer to work out at home or to do something outside (like going for a walk, run, or hike).

I like to keep things interesting so sometimes I’ll do an exercise video and sometimes I’ll do a work out with weights (a dear friend of mine has a background in personal training and I love working out with her). Sometimes I’ll do yoga. Sometimes I do a bit of all three. Also, gardening season around here means piles of rocks, soil, compost, and mulch that need to be moved around the yard: I get a great workout wheelbarrowing heavy stuff around for an hour or so a couple of times a week.

Just like I believe it’s best to eat a balanced diet, for overall fitness and for health it’s best to exercise in a balanced way, as well. This means doing more than just cardio…it means paying attention to strength and flexibility, as well.

So go find something physical (or better yet, a few things) that you like to do and do them on a regular basis. Aim to do a mixture of cardio, strength, and flexibility training. Don’t get too hung up on making sure you’re doing the perfect amount of each, and definitely don’t just think about how many calories you are burning. Remember that for it to give you benefits over the long term, exercising should be fun and enjoyable as well as good for you.

If you truly enjoy going to the gym, then go to the gym. Working out with machines or free weights and/or taking group classes can be great for your body. If you don’t belong to a gym, though, there are many other things you can do to get fit: walking, running, and hiking require little more than a good pair of shoes to get started. Biking is another great way to exercise outdoors. Swimming is non-impact and great for beginner exercisers. There are many different types of dance classes out there, as well as a variety of martial arts to choose from. Some people enjoy tennis, others skiing, and yet others gravitate toward yoga or pilates. My friend Liz has gotten super fit by working out at home and here’s how she does it.

Maybe you enjoy lots of different things- feel free to do them all!

Move your body: that’s all there is to it. Even if you’ve never exercised regularly in your life, you can make a change tomorrow. Or today.

As always, I enjoy hearing from you in the comments section. Are you an avid exerciser? Or do you struggle with moving your body enough? Let me know where you’re at at, and if you’re “in” for this week’s One Simple Change.

 

8 Comments

  1. 1

    Alyse Cranson — June 18, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

    I do get in exercise everyday. I have a stationary bike, and treadmill, but right now with construction going on, I’ve had to move them. So, I spend 45 min. to 1 hr. dancing. Love music, so it’s just fun to me. While watching tv, I pick up some light weights, and do curls, ect. to work the arms. I’ve also found I can do mini sit ups during commercials. There’s always a way. Another is squats while you brush your teeth. haha :-)

    • Winnie replied: — June 18th, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

      Love this comment! It’s true there are so many ways to work exercise into your day, and so many ways to make it fun. I think the reason so many people don’t exercise is because they think they have to set aside a space apart from regular life to do it. Also: many people think of it as a “punishment”.

  2. 2

    Skylor @sproutlifestyle — June 18, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

    Movement is so important!! I get about an hour of exercise a day, but that is simply luck because I am a yoga instructor. What is so important, like you mention, is regularity and consistency. And in the same light, being consistent with not sitting for more than an hour at a time. If your form of exercise is doing 30 jumping jacks every hour to keep your metabolism active all day long, that can be very powerful!

  3. 3

    Meister @ The Nervous Cook — June 19, 2012 @ 5:15 am

    Great post! Exercise is a total tonic to me: It’s the thing that keeps me sane and balanced (well, saner and more balanced than I would be without it…). I exercise every day for an hour or more, and running is the thing I’m most devoted to. The time I spend by myself out there on a run is my favorite part of the day, and while when I started it was “work” like exercise is for so many people, when I came to love and embrace the activity (and myself) I found that it became something I truly enjoy.

    I write a blog specifically about learning to love running, to try to help other people find that joy, too: Running While Smiling

  4. 4

    Paula — June 19, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

    Wonderfully written post. I tend to get more exercise from the Spring throughout the Fall mainly because I tend to my gardens, walk everyday and I golf. Come winter I do manage to get in some exercise because we have a dog but it is mostly just brisk walking. I suppose I should take up yoga again during this season, either that or some dancerize. It’s always fun to exercise to fun and upbeat music.

  5. 5

    Katie — June 20, 2012 @ 9:52 am

    Love the One Simple Change idea. I agree that finding what works for you is key. I tried to be a runner for years, never sticking with it for long, until I realized I hate running. Now I do things I love and find myself exercising happily nearly every day.

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