When we were kids, we played. And while we were playing, we laughed, had fun, and kept our muscles, bones and heart healthy. By doing this we optimally increased our circulation making sure nutrients got to where they needed to be. Crazy thing, we didn’t even know all of this was going on – we just did it because it felt good.
What has happened?
Responsibilities, less time, stress, fatigue… the list goes on.
However, playing and exercising really doesn’t take that much time and the health benefits are profound. Research states that we only need 20 to 30 minutes of exercise every day to keep our bodies strong and since it is the summer, why not try to make it part of your routine, a habit that will carry you on through the winter months?
A few known benefits of exercising:• Lowered blood pressure
• Sleep better
• Increased memory and mental clarity
• Feel less stressed, feel a sense of joy
• Stronger bones and muscles
• Increased immunity
• Able to lose and maintain desired weight
How to get started?
This is always the tricky part. Many people will start out with goals that aren’t sustainable. The best way to begin is to incorporate exercise into your everyday life. Become more aware of when and where you can make changes:
• Park your car further away from where you want to go• Take the stairs instead of the elevator
• Take a stroll or a bike ride after dinner
One thing I typically ask my patients is what they did at age 10? Did they play soccer, swim, ride a bike? When they begin thinking about that time in their life, they smile and that is the answer they need - do more of that.
Once these subtle changes are established into a daily routine, people feel better and it shows. And when people feel better, they have more confidence and desire to take it up a notch by deciding to take a run before dinner or first thing in the morning, join a gym or take a yoga class.
Start slow and enjoy. Be playful and have fun.
Dr. Heather Manley, ND, is a practicing physician who received her medical degree in 2001 from National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She is also the award-winning author of the Human Body Detectives book and curriculum series.
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