Saturday, June 6, 2015

15 Musts of Exercise Prosperity

Because I'm so happy with my results of exercising consistently for the past 11+ months, I decided to share my 15 musts (thoughts) that create exercise prosperity in our lives! :)

1. When we're wholeheartedly committed to exercising consistently, we must create an exercise plan, environment and lifestyle that allow us to be successful. We must pick the types of exercise we know we will continue throughout our lives. (See number 11 for clarification.) We must schedule exercising into our calendars and view that time as especially important! We must not let any calendar item get in the way of our exercising! Okay, urgent or emergency situations obviously take precedence over exercising—but if it's not truly urgent, we must do whatever it takes to keep our exercise appointments!

2. We must daily acknowledge that having a healthy body is vital to our life missions! Everything we do in life is made possible by our bodies! Thus, we must keep our attitudes happy towards exercise. :) Exercising our precious bodies must be a top priority!

3. We must drink a lot of water! I'm sure you've heard way too much about the importance of drinking water, so I won't bore you. But I must share that when I drink a lot of water daily, I have more energy, improved brainpower, and my muscles are less sore. The best way I've found to get enough water is by drinking a large tumbler (16 ounces) of water every time I finish using the bathroom. That might be TMI, but it totally works for me and my body is healthier because of that wonderful habit!

4. When beginning an exercise program, we must take it slow and easy. Don't overdo it, but don't be a wimp, either! :) We simply need to consistently exercise, no matter what. Then, when our bodies have become used to our beginner-level exercising, it's time to ramp up our efforts! We can continue ramping up our exercise routines for as long as our body can take it...but again, we mustn't overdo it.

5. We must get a good amount of sleep every night, so our bodies can recover, repair and improve themselves. Without adequate sleep, our bodies are depleted of energy, become rundown, and risk injury or illness. Don't ever skimp on sleep! Plus, if we get enough sleep, we'll look younger, too...yippee!

*For more information on the vast importance of sleep, please watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta's CNN video "How important is a good night's sleep?"—it's amazing!!

6. We must never become discouraged with our exercise progress. It's true that some people progress in their fitness goals more quickly than others. We must remember that creating our best bodies takes patience, diligence, consistency and time! If we can internalize that exercising our bodies is a lifetime journey, we'll be much happier and more patient with ourselves. We could look at exercising in the same way as eating: we must do it consistently, otherwise we'll become unhealthy and eventually die! Although, one of those scenarios would obviously cause death more quickly than the other. ;)

7. We must not burn ourselves out by exercising intensely six to seven days per week. If we want to train really hard, three to four times per week will suffice. Unless we're professional athletes or fitness trainers, taking a break every other day really is okay! Don't believe me? I'll be writing another post in the future to sustain my stance.

8. We must walk. Walking is so good for our bodies and minds, it can't hurt us if we walk for exercise every day of the week! That said, I don't recommend walking long distances in addition to intense training/exercising on the same day—unless it's absolutely necessary...or you're superhuman. ;)

9. We must do whatever it takes (within reason!) to not become bored with exercising! Randomness in exercising, i.e., mixing it up, is essential to achieving our fitness goals. But at the end of the day, just like we might not enjoy the monotony of repeatedly cleaning bathrooms, exercising must be done no matter how we choose to do it!

10. Our first and paramount exercise goal must be "I want my body to be fit and healthy for life!"—not just for 90 days, or until the next 10k! Don't get me wrong, for it's very good to have short-term fitness goals, but we must fully internalize that we will never be done exercising—just like our laundry piles will never completely disappear as long as we are alive! ;) Creating a healthy body is a never-ending, priceless endeavor!

11. We must utilize the types of exercise that bring us joy and keep us healthy, and not compare ourselves to anyone else! If we have medical conditions that prevent us from exercising at the same level as someone else, we must not let their amazing feats defeat us! Similarly, we don't know what health issues others have, so we also should not judge their exercising habits. :)

*I, for example, have hypothyroidism. If I over-exercise, or don't get enough sleep, my body doesn't do well, and it takes me a day or two to recover. (It can sometimes take longer depending on what else I have going on in my life at the time.) I attribute this annoyance to the fact that my body simply can't make more thyroid hormone whenever it needs it; I have to wait for my thyroid hormone to be replenished through a daily pill. If my body's need for thyroid hormone exceeds what it has in reserves, I pay the price for my actions and I'm left with exhaustion. :( (Medical professionals might disagree with me based on studies, etc., but I live with my body's issues every day and this is totally what happens to me!) That sad fact bothers me, but I've come to accept it as my unfortunate truth—I've learned to work around it and live with it. Yes, even though I dearly wish I could exercise intensely every day (I love exercising!), I know my body's annoying limits. I take breaks when I've overdone it, and I don't feel guilty about resting if the need arises! :)

12. We must listen to our bodies! If we're injured or feeling ill, we should lighten or eliminate our exercise routines until we've fully recovered. Believe me, it's not worth pushing through the pain and/or exhaustion—and possibly injuring or sickening ourselves further—just to save face! Bottom line? We must take good care of ourselves in every way possible, and that includes resting when needed.

13. We must not ever get caught up in the numbers on a scale! Instead, we must pay attention to the following numbers:
  • our heart rates—which indicate if our hearts are getting stronger (Yeah yeah!)
  • how many repetitions we can do of any particular exercise—which also indicates our increasing strength
  • the amount of weight with which we are able to perform any exercise, i.e., higher equals better/stronger (as long as it isn't too heavy)
  • our bodies' inches—are they diminishing (at the waist) and expanding appropriately (arm, leg, chest and back muscles)
  • the length of time we're able to exercise—again, longer equals stronger and healthier
  • how many days/months/years we've been consistently exercising—the more time that passes, the healthier our bodies become
14. We must never feel like failures if we stop exercising for a time. Remember? I don't believe in failure, I believe in choices! We just need to start exercising again whenever and wherever we can. :) Besides, the past is in the past! As we learned from Rafiki in "The Lion King," we can either run from the past, or learn from it. Yet in regard to being fit, we should do both learning and running! Ha ha.

15. We must always remember how magnificent we feel after exercising! There will most likely be days when we won't want to exercise, but we must push through whatever is keeping us from working out and just do it! :) The wonderful mental health benefits of exercise have been proven time and again—we literally become happier and less anxious when we exercise! And I'm pretty sure everyone wants to feel triumphant every day of their lives!

Long story short: exercising makes me feel awesome, and I simply want everyone to join in my fun! :) I am living proof (from my exercising experiences) that my 15 musts really do work! If we keep our exercise mindsets continually positive, we'll absolutely be healthier in every way possible! Additionally, we can handle life so much better when we're healthy and fit—regardless of what's thrown our way! :)

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