Get Out There and Move!!
Exercising has never come naturally or easily for me. In fact, for most of my life, I considered it more of a punishment than a benefit. Suffering from a complete lack of eye-hand co-ordination, I could never play any team sports or ball sports. Yes, it’s true – I was always the last one selected for a team at school!
I love watching sports, however, and really enjoyed watching the Olympics and cheering on Team Canada. While never aspiring to have the body of an Olympic athlete, I do, however, know the critical importance of exercising on a daily basis both for my health (and how I look!).
Over the last couple of years, due in part to the deaths of my Mother and Sister of ovarian cancer, I have endeavoured to live a cleaner, more holistic lifestyle. Whether it helps me live longer or not, I sure do feel better!
After drinking more water, eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, giving up wheat entirely, exercising every day, (trying) to get enough sleep, andlimiting my exposure to toxic chemicals as much as possible, I have to say that I feel a lot healthier, with dramatically less pain in my joints, fewer headaches, and a smooth running digestive system.
The exercise thing though, has been the hardest for me to sustain on a regular basis. I now do 3 things I love to do and am good at (none of which require eye-hand co-ordination, luckily). I walk, do yoga and kayak.
If you do nothing else at all, at least try walking every day. Even if your joints and feet hurt, try to walk for half an hour every single day. You’ll be surprised how quickly your pains go away and you can walk longer and faster. If it’s at all possible, try walking in a park or forest, as that type of walking is extremely beneficial, as well as limiting your exposure to automobile exhaust.
I took up yoga several years ago and at first it was really difficult (and painful) for me to do many of the poses, with the most painful one being the “Child’s Pose”. Hard to believe, but true. Now I do 2 classes a week of vinyasa (or flow) yoga, which are of intermediate intensity. My flexibility has improved dramatically. I can easily touch my toes, and my balance has improved. You only need a yoga mat, and although there are many yoga workouts available online, I have to advise you to take some classes from a certified yoga teacher so you can really learn the poses, as it is possible to hurt yourself if you’re not doing it properly.
My fitness level has improved to such a degree that I now have taken up kayaking, which is fantastic for upper body strength conditioning and posture. Unfortunately, this requires both a piece of equipment, and water (a lake) to be able to do, so maybe is not for everyone.
The truly important thing though, is to do something, anything, every day, for an hour if possible. The benefits to your health are incredible. You just have to start – right now! Get off the internet and go for a walk. Switch on the music and have a private dance party. Run up and down the stairs 10 times. Go into your garden and pull weeds for an hour. Dust off that bicycle and go for a ride. Do 10 minutes of jumping jacks and squats. Go for a swim.(No, not ALL of those activities, just one or two).You’ll be glad you did!
(If you haven’t exercised in a while, please check with your Health Care Provider first)