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The key to healthy living is diet and exercise. You’ve probably only heard this a million times.
Of these two components, your diet makes up about 70-80% of this equation, but that shouldn’t minimize the importance of exercise.
What does Shakespeare have to do with exercise?
Shakespeare is arguably the greatest writer who’s ever spoken English. My 9-year-old son gets nothing out of Shakespeare’s plays.
Along the same lines, it doesn’t matter how great the workout is, if you don’t do it or can’t do it, you’re not going to enjoy the benefits.
When looking for the ideal exercise, look for the following characteristics.
For whatever reason, exercise is often associated with unpleasantness. If you find exercise tedious, boring, and dreadful, you’re doing the wrong exercise. And chances are that soon you won’t be exercising at all.
If you enjoy running, run. If you enjoy Zumba, Zumba. If you enjoy long walks on the beach, take long walks on the beach. There’s yoga, biking, swimming, gardening, hiking, dancing, tennis, basketball… the list could go on and on!
Just because exercise should be enjoyable doesn’t mean you won’t encounter moments when you don’t feel like doing it. They’ll be less frequent and more enjoyable once you start.
And if you REALLY just HATE “exercise” – then stop thinking of having to exercise and start focusing on just moving your body. Clean the house with a little added kapow. Dance to your favorite music. Park at the back of the parking lot and take the stairs. The idea is love your body and to move it!
You don’t need to join a gym to exercise.
There are more places to exercise than a health club or gym. Remember the key to having success with an exercise program is actually doing it. If joining a gym or a health club will help you accomplish this then join the gym. They do, after all, have plenty of equipment and other exercisers for motivation.
That being said, some prefer the outdoors. Some prefer popping in a DVD and getting after it. Some lock their door at work, cover the windows, and do Yoga.
So stop using the lack of a gym membership, or the aversion to having one be an excuse.
Most of the individuals I help benefit from a program, especially when trying to build the exercise habit.
A program–think Insanity, P90X, Couch to 5k, CrossFit, or whatever–schedules your workouts months in advance. No thought necessary.
These schedules, however, are not set in stone. It’s okay to deviate occasionally from your schedule to accommodate your personal situation or if you’re feeling unusually fatigued or worn out.
Muscles grow when you’re resting. Of course, if all you do is rest, then they won’t grow at all. You need to do the exercise part before the rest.
Taking a rest day or two lets your body recharge and prevents repetitive use injuries. Scheduled (and an occasional unscheduled rest day) will also help prevent burnout.
While on the subject of rest, get plenty of sleep.
You can’t outrun your fork.
A substantial number of individuals exercise to either lose or maintain weight. This is smart. It’s most effective, however, when coupled with healthy eating.
Not only will what you put on the fork that you put in your mouth affect your appearance, it will affect your performance. There’s no stronger proof of this than visiting a local marathon and noticing a surprisingly large number of overweight individuals.
Chances are they tried to outrun their fork.
There are more benefits to exercise than weight loss.
Exercise contributes to weight loss and that’s why a lot of people do it. But it’s not the only benefit, or even the whole point.
In addition to looking better, you’ll feel better. Your body will be healthier and more resilient. You’ll have more energy–physical and mental. Your emotional health will improve. Your mental clarify will increase. Your outlook on life will be elevated. Your mind-body connection will be strengthened.
So what are you waiting for? Go start exercising.
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