Edgar Cayce was once asked by a TV interviewer in the early days of TV, “What are the best exercises?” His reply? “The ones you do.” A person would have to have had their head buried in the sand for the last thirty years to not know and fully understand the benefits of exercise. This article is about the motivation to exercise and move your body. It’s not about “how to”. The “how to” will come later. With exercise, you’ll benefit from:
- All around better health and energy including better glandular function and a stronger immune system
- Improved cardiovascular circulation and respiratory function.
- Movement prevents deterioration and decay
- Reduced chances of incurring long term chronic illness
- Improved ability to fight stress
- Enjoy life more. Be willing and able to engage.
- Move better. Be able to get up and down from the floor with ease.
- Improved strength, flexibility, balance, endurance and the general ability to move your body.
- Possible increased longevity. Turn back the clock. Live longer and enjoy it more.
The real “so what” to all the above is that with exercise you will look better, feel better, and be physically able to do, and enjoy doing, the things you really want to do in life with energy and vitality, and be able to do it longer.
“No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training…what a disgrace it is for a man [or woman] to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” Socrates (469 – 399 BC)
Here are a few things to consider when thinking about starting an exercise program: You already can do more than you think you can, but most people are content to stay in the perceived safety of their own comfort zone. With exercise, you’ll most likely discover that you’ll actually want to move beyond your comfort zone, extend yourself, and try new things. Are you planning to be a peak performance athlete at age sixty-five or so? If not, you can probably do with a modest amount of hard exercise. Yes, some of your exercise routine should be difficult, but it should not make you ultra-sore and it should not wear you out. You should feel comfortably tired, not worn out. Planning to engage in master’s level sports? Then you need specialized training for your particular sport. Most of you will simply want to be able to function normally, or a little bit better than normal, as you age. What is function? It’s the ability to push, pull, lift, carry, bend and twist, balance, and “ambulate” from point A to point B. You’ll want to be able to get in and out of cars, walk for pleasure, carry groceries and put them away and get up and down from the floor and play with your grandkids. As you get older, you lose the functionality of your bodily systems – unless – you do something about it. Your exercise goals should be strength, flexibility, range of motion, and the ability to move comfortably and easily.
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” John F. Kennedy
There have been many institutional efforts to get people to exercise and move. Presidents have promoted the concept, from Jimmy Carter running (and being attacked by the Rabbit), Ronald Reagan was an avid exerciser, as were both of the Bush’s. Even Bill Clinton tried to jog, and Barak and Michelle Obama have tried to suggest exercise and nutrition, all to show the importance of health and fitness and to show the world that even they do it. The most notable institutional success story that I am aware was chronicled in Dr. John Ratey’s excellent book, Spark where a morning exercise program was instituted for elementary school students in a suburban Chicago school, and student academic performance was significantly improved. While institutional promotion of health and fitness is admirable, and I hope it continues to be emphasized, it is still at the individual level where results occur. You, as an individual, Must take responsibility for your own health and level of fitness. No one, not even the Government, can do it for you, even though many in Government, at all levels, think they can. If you decide to start an exercise program, and haven’t exercised for a long time . . . Be bold, but be careful. Your infrastructure may not be ready for heavy duty exercise and need to be conditioned. Bones weaken. Joints get rusty. Ligaments get weak. Muscles atrophy. You won’t want to put a lot of excess strain on them at first. So listen to your own body and get comfortable with your progress. Take your time and you’ll see progress, as well as enjoy the exercise more. If you don’t move your body the way nature intended for your body to move, your joints will get rusty, your blood will get stagnate, your bones will get brittle and your muscles will atrophy. If you do move and exercise your body, you will look better, feel better, and enjoy a longer and more fruitful life. I’ll take the latter anytime.
Thank you for reading.