"EXercise: you don't have time not to." --Unattributed
If you're moving, you're eXercising. That is, technically, you're eXercising. But just how much good is it doing you if you have sporadic, inconsistent activity, and too little of it?
Regardless whether your goal is to lose weight, improve your health, get toned, or address specific issues such as hypertension, eXercise is an oft-neglected twin to diet.
Physical eXercise does more than improve your fitness: while it's true you will strengthen your heart, develop more fleXibility, maintain bone density, the benefits go beyond the obvious.
* Studies are showing that regular, consistent physical eXercise helps fight diabetes. Losing weight and controlling diet are other components, but without eXercise, they don't go far enough to stabilize blood glucose.
* The immune system can improve thanks to physical eXercise. Research has found that not only can people develop fewer colds and lung ailments, eXercise also helps decrease the severity of 'attacks' people suffer with arthritis, IBS, and other chronic diseases.
* It's now widely accepted in the medical community that vigorous eXercise, when practiced on a consistent basis, improves emotional / mental problems. Although it's unclear if endorphin stimulation is the primary reason or if something else causes the greater stability in mood, evidence shows that regular eXercise boosts 'good feelings.'
* Daily eXercise improves sleep. If diet and eXercise are two of the basic elements for total health, sufficient sound sleep is the third key. People sleep better when their circulation and respiration have become healthier, it's as simple as that.
As you become more fit, as you tone up or lose weight, and as you begin to feel healthier, you will also have more optimism and higher self-esteem. Certainly there will be a decrease in stress - and who can't use that?
To get yourself into a routine of eXercising:
1) EXperiment. Try different sorts of activities, and try them under different conditions. Whether you join a spin class or ride a bicycle outdoors, find out if you prefer solitary activity or group activity. Once you know which you enjoy, you're more likely to stay with it.
2) Commit to short-term consistency. Even in the eXperiment phase, you need to give your body and mind a fair chance to test an activity. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. Whether that's true or not, set up a schedule so you can try an activity for three weeks. If after that amount of time it's still not for you, try something else. If, though, you find it's eXactly right, set up a plan to incorporate it on a weekly schedule.
3) Work on finding three or four different kinds of eXercise. If you already swim, try power-walking. If you practice yoga, try bike-riding or kick-boXing. If aerobic / cardio training is your usual eXercise, try something for increasing muscular strength - weight-training or kettlebells. Your aim is to miX up the types so you get the overall total benefits from week to week.
And as you hear so often, if you haven't eXercised in a while, or you have eXisting conditions that require care, consult a doctor or other professional for advice.
Just as a healthy, nutritious diet requires planning, so does a healthy eXercise regimen. Now - what're you waiting for?
"If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and eXercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health." --Hippocrates
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On the heels of the Willpower blog... I came across this today: