I don’t care how many articles profess cleaning a house, walking a dog and standing instead of sitting at a desk constitutes exercise; these activities do NOT SUBSTITUTE for structured exercise programs. They are all good activities and should be incorporated into our lives, but structured physical exercise is mandatory to achieve and maintain good quality physical and mental health (over a lifetime.) The main reason I make this claim is that activities change over a lifetime. Dogs get old and pass on, standing at a computer gets tiring and sometimes painful, etc…
Structured exercise is DEPENDABLE. It ONLY requires the individual to choose to participate to maintain good quality physical and mental health.
Many people claim they don’t exercise because they “don’t LIKE to exercise.” This explanation does not entirely and truthfully explain why people don’t exercise. Most people do not like getting out of a warm bed in the morning to go to a stressful job. They do it anyway. Most people do not like doing laundry. They do it anyway. Most people do not like paying taxes to the government. They do it anyway.
Why is EXERCISE any different. THE ANSWER IS people believe INCORRECTLY that quality living can be achieved without spending the additional time and effort exercising. People who think this way are WRONG! In many cases people will only learn this TRUTH when it becomes too late.
WHY IS EXERCISE ESSENTIAL FOR GOOD HEALTH?
1. EXERCISE strengthens heart and lung function. Increased oxygenation with better vascular circulation under LOWER PRESSURE improves heart function and SLOWS DOWN THE AGING PROCESS.
2. EXERCISE acts as a positive source to channel stress. It prevents overactive damaging stress hormones from causing chronic inflammation that results in disease and dysfunction.
3. EXERCISE prevents the formation and progression of ARTHRITIS. How often have you been told that arthritis is “just part of the aging process?” Arthritis is certainly common, but is CERTAINLY NOT NORMAL! It is a response by the body to damaged areas and/or weakened function that leads to diminished capabilities and ultimately loss of quality living. Strengthening muscles supports joint integrity and muscle function. Increasing flexibility by stretching, yoga, pilates, etc… increases active range of motion. All of these structured activities prevent the “old person” shuffle we FALSELY believe comes with aging.
4. EXERCISE adds a quality physical ACTIVITY within a SOCIAL environment (if one chooses to exercise at a gym or healthclub) that uses TIME PRODUCTIVELY.
5. EXERCISE prevents physical and mental limitations in life. Why would anyone want to work HARD and create a nest egg over a lifetime, only to be limited in life’s pleasures as we age. Whether it’s running with grandchildren or traveling the world, our physical health is the ONE COMMONALITY REQUIRED among all of us. What is the purpose of living a “long life” if we can’t participate in the things we enjoy because our physical and mental limitations make it impossible? Does anyone truly equate mere EXISTENCE with HAPPINESS?
6. EXERCISE shows you VALUE YOURSELF and your QUALITY OF LIFE!
You can add your own reasons on top of this short list I’ve started. Just remember, with every reason you add to the list, you confirm to YOURSELF the ESSENTIAL need of incorporating structured exercise in your life.