Exercise

Oh my! Not that word!

Yes the word that brings for many of us a sense of angst, or possibly even trepidation.

Why all the fuss?

For me because originally exercise was difficult and painful.

I was given a very serious diagnosis many years ago – to the point where the doctors sat my parents down and told them I wouldn’t walk, let alone run, jump or dance. (Oh, and I love to dance!)

So don’t you think that exercise – this activity requiring physical effort to sustain or improve health and fitness – made a difference in my overall outcomes?

Initially when diagnosed with linear scleroderma my family seemed to attack it with a vengeance! I can recall having to do deep knee bends until I lost count. At one point my right leg was actually stronger than my left. So yes exercise still brings a sense of anxiety maybe that “not measuring up” or “the last one picked for a team” feeling.

Some of you can empathize and some of you are on the other spectrum. You were the ones picking the teams. You were always athletic, always moving, and always in shape. Then adulthood came, responsibilities of married life, children, or career. In my dear husband’s case the once track star now struggles to find time for a basic work out.

Not enough time? The biggest excuse I hear (including my own)! The great news is that “people who work out at a very high intensity for just one minute at a time improve their endurance and lower their blood pressure” according to Dr. Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University, exercise researcher and the author of The One Minute Workout. Now this High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) form of exercise is not for everyone. However the bottom line is that any amount of exercise is better than no exercise at all. If time is your issue than try my method-short 10 minute bursts throughout the day. The latest is when I walk the dogs with giant steps like lunges. Yes, pretty silly looking but the dogs don’t seem to mind.

The real key is to find some form of movement you enjoy. Chances are if you are having a good time, you will find value in it and then you will stay with it over the long haul.

So why exercise? I am sure you have a heard probably many times over -it is good for you and it is good for your heart! Now have you every heard that it is like a miracle drug? Well it is! “In recent studies in which blood was drawn immediately after people exercised, researchers have found that many positive changes occur throughout the body during and right after a workout” The list of benefits might surprise you-slower aging, better mood, less chronic pain, stronger vision and many more real, measurable, and almost immediate rewards, according to Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, director of the Neuromuscular and Neurometabolic Clinic at McMaster University Medical Centre. The National Institute of Health is launching a massive study with the aim to prove that exercise is medicine.

When a client comes to me with depression or any mood altering issue one of my first questions is:

“Do you own a good pair of tennis shoes?”

And you, Dear One – when was the last time you really used yours?

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