I once told someone that, given all that I know about fitness, it would be a sin if I chose not to exercise. To not do something that requires so little and produces so much in return is just wrong. Here’s a list of scientifically proven health benefits of exercise:
- New brain cell development, improved cognition and memory
- Improved sexual function and better sex life
- Powerful anti-depressant
- Cardiovascular health
- Cholesterol-lowering effect
- Prevention and control of diabetes
- Blood-pressure lowering
- Reduced risk of stroke
- Weight control
- Muscle strength
- Bone Strength
- Better sleep
Not to toot my own horn, but I am just too smart to ignore that list and not make exercise a part of life (I bet you are, too). For years, my exercise of choice was walking. And I still enjoy walking for pleasure and relaxation and just to get outdoors. But for me walking was a prelude to running (though I didn’t know that at the time). I was walking along minding my own business one day, when I tuned in to some music (which was not my modus operandi). When the 70’s tunes hit my ears, I couldn’t NOT run! It was quite magical. I still smile when I think about it.
That was my very simple beginning as a runner (a whopping 425 feet!). I’ve been hooked ever since. (Read the entire story here.)
There are three main reasons that I get up early, drag around in a half-asleep stupor and push myself out the door when my body is begging to go back to bed: 1) energy, 2) stress relief, and 3) age reversal.
It is miraculous how running energizes. I mean, I’m EXHAUSTED when I finish a run, but within moments after cooling down, I’m ready to take on the day with gusto (I always run first thing in the morning). And I feel the energizing effect for hours afterwards. (And an interesting by-product of all this energy is I sleep so much better at night. Truly, the best of both worlds—more energy, better sleep.)
I don’t consider myself to have a stressful life, but like most people, I do have some. Running is incredibly effective at coping with stress. It’s kind of like having a way to run away from the stress—or maybe it is more like running to the stress and bopping it on the head! Either way, running is a nice, healthy outlet when you’re feeling the least bit overwhelmed or anxious.
Running has taken years off my self-perception. A lot of this has to do with the energy factor I wrote about above. I like to DO things—hike, walk, run, bike, etc. This was not true before running. Even though I have almost always been involved in some kind of exercise program, they just didn’t do for me what running does.
If you don’t exercise, I do hope you are feeling “the itch!” And if you are, here’s my two bits of advice for you (regardless of what kind of exercise you choose):
2) Start. Just do it. Lay out your clothes the night before. Get dressed and get out the door. I’ve never once turned around after I’ve gotten that far.
This is Day 10 of the 30-day challenge. I’d like to hear how you are doing with your challenges. Leave me a comment below.