Welcome to the last week of Month Three with our focus on health! This has been a great month, as we’ve focused on the different areas of health and how being healthy in a holistic way will propel us even further down the road to a successful life.
When we look at health we look in the context of humans consisting of three distinct parts or layers: the Body—the physical nature; the Soul—the mind, will and emotions; and the Spirit—the part of us that transcends this world and communes with God.
We cover these three layers in four different parts this month:
1. Spiritual Health: Three weeks ago we looked at the benefits and importance of developing a vibrant spiritual life and gave you some easy methods to help take your spiritual life to a deeper level.
2. Emotional Health: The mind, will and emotions. Two weeks ago, we covered the importance of a healthy soul, specifically the mind, will and emotional aspects of life. We looked at how our inner person is such a vital part in making sure we live the kind of life we desire, and we learned how our emotional life can become healthy, strong and lively.
3. Physical Health—Nutrition: Last week, we started a two-part look at the body and physical health, concentrating on the area of nutrition. We talked about why it is important we fuel our body properly because energy comes from the foods we eat. Just like a vehicle runs off of the fuel we fill it with, if we put the wrong kind of fuel into our body, it will not run properly. Put the right kinds of foods in, and it will run like the high-performance engine in an expensive sports car!
4. Physical Health—Exercise: This week we look at the important area of exercise. “I need to exercise” is the first thought that occurs to most people when they think of health. We do need exercise, and today we will take a more in-depth look at this important topic.
This week, as we look at physical health again, our focus is on exercise. I’ll give you the benefits of exercise, and we’ll add a few tips for getting a simple exercise program up and running.
This week I want to give you a good understanding of just how important physical exercise is. The underlying foundation for exercise—to really get us to take it seriously—are the “why’s” of exercise. Why should we exercise? Why is it important? We have been told many times how important it is and yet so many people do not exercise. Why?
I believe it is imperative to understand the benefits of exercise and why we would do well to adopt a lifelong program of physical exercise that keeps us in tip-top physical health. We should treat our body like a temple, not a woodshed. Because the mind and body work together, your body needs to be a good support system for the mind and spirit. If we take care of our bodies, they can take us where we want to go with the power and vitality to get there.
So let’s take a few minutes here and I’ll give you my 7 Major Benefits of Physical Exercise:
1. Physical exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system and helps support your skeletomuscular system. The two major systems that keep you in shape physically are put into action and driven to health when you exercise. A good workout gets the blood pumping, moving throughout your body, taking those nutrients where they need to go. A good workout gets your lungs working hard and expanding their ability to take in and effectively use oxygen. Working out gets your heart pumping and strengthening itself so it can continue to beat strong and hard for many years to come. Let’s do the math: Have you ever considered that a heart that beats an average of 70 beats per minute will beat 2,575,440,000 times in a 70-year life!? That is more than two and a half billion times! You need to keep it in working order to go that long! A good workout develops and maintains strong muscles so they can carry your body around and remain a good support for the rest of your life! Can you see how important it is, if you want to succeed and achieve a well-balanced life of health, to give a priority to physical exercise? It is imperative we take good care of our body because that is the only place we have to live.
2. Physical exercise raises your metabolism and helps keep your body more finely tuned. Combined with the nutritional aspect we covered last week, these two keep your body, as a system, humming along like the engine of an expensive sports car. Among other things, having a higher rate of metabolism makes your body work more efficiently, burning fat in the proper way, and helps you maintain proper weight. One of the most important areas of physical health is to have a properly functioning metabolism, and a good workout routine can be a major contributing factor in getting your metabolism in the right spot. If you don’t feel well, you probably won’t do well, so invest the time in a good workout plan.
3. Physical exercise relieves stress. You know as well as I do that going about our lives in this day and age is stressful. There are so many factors that can cause stress for us, and the pressures can build the more successful we become. As you achieve more, there is more responsibility. More responsibility can produce more stress. Participating in a regular workout program helps release stress. Your body actually produces stress-relieving chemicals designed to bring your body into a state of physical-emotional balance. This is done when we get our bodies into a vigorous state of physical exercise. So, if you want to have a little less stress in your life, exercise more—it helps!
4. Physical exercise helps you sleep better. , while designed for action, are also designed to sleep regularly. Often, because of other factors in our lives, many people today do not sleep as well as they should. Foods we eat can interrupt our sleep. Stress can keep us from getting the sleep we need, but exercise can act as a counterbalance. Good, hearty workouts can and will help your body reach a healthy state of exhaustion, which in turn helps you sleep better.
5. Physical exercise helps you feel better. People who are in a regular exercise program feel better about themselves. Their bodies are healthier, and as they go about their day they have more energy and are more alert. It makes sense, doesn’t it? When we treat our body right, we feel better. And we feel better in all different kinds of ways: emotionally, spiritually, etc. Remember, all of the three areas of our bodies are tied together and have an effect on one another.
6. Physical exercise helps us look better. Hey, who doesn’t want to look better? We all do! A good exercise program can do that. Good vigorous exercise on a regular basis will help you lose fat, tighten skin and firm and tone your muscles. Done right, combined with good eating habits, you will look great in no time! And let’s face it, looking good will help you feel better—there is an emotional connection. Studies also show that better-looking people as a general rule do better in business. As much as people say it isn’t right to judge a book by its cover, many people do, so we should give ourselves a better chance at business by making our cover healthy and fit—and better looking. So make sure your outside is a good reflection of your inside.
7. Physical exercise enables us to live longer. This, of course, is the best benefit. Obviously, there are no guarantees in this life, but the fact remains that those who maintain a healthy state of physical fitness live longer than those who do not take care of their bodies. We should all have the goal to live long and healthy lives so we can achieve all we were meant to achieve here, and give ourselves fully to our families and those who love us and depend on us. A good long life, filled with love and success, is what we should all shoot for, and maintaining our physical bodies is an integral part of that!
There you have them. Seven great benefits you receive from keeping your body in great shape through exercise!
We have covered a lot in this month of health. Take it to heart. Gain some ground on your health this month and in the coming year. You will be glad you did!
Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!
Here are a few tips for establishing a simple yet effective workout program.
1. Go to your physician and tell him or her what you would like to achieve physically. We cannot emphasize this enough! Let your doctor know and help you along with your plan. Each individual is unique and will need to have a health professional help them decide which is the best plan for them. Believe us, they will be ecstatic to see someone taking their health seriously and will be glad to help!
2. Have a plan. Just as with all of life, we do best when we have a plan. That is why you are here. We do better and are more accountable—as well as more successful—when we plan and then work that plan. So, get a plan. There are so many good health/exercise plans available to us; it is up to you to choose what will fit your needs and lifestyle best. The first and most simple step of your plan should be to become active on a daily basis, even five minutes a day will make a huge difference physiologically, and as a result, will move you in the direction of strengthening your body’s cardiovascular system. A simple start could be walking in your neighborhood, at a nearby park or local school track. The next step would be to add in strength/weight training and alternate strength training and cardiovascular conditioning. Try doing cardiovascular (walking, jogging, swimming, aerobics, etc.) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and strength training on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The key here is to do what works best for you and your schedule.
3. Start small. One reason so many people fail to maintain a lifelong workout plan is because they start too big, fail and then quit. You don’t have to go to the gym every day. You don’t have to start off trying to bench press like a middle linebacker. Start smaller, if that is what it takes for you to be successful. The key isn’t the size of your start but that you start! It might mean taking a vigorous walk three times a week with your spouse or friends. Whatever it is—start!
4. Make it regular, whether Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, whether every morning or three evenings a week. It doesn’t matter what your plan is as long as it is your plan and you keep it regular. If you can keep from being sporadic, your body will be in much better condition.
5. Incorporate exercise into your day. You don’t even have to join a gym. There are people who ride their bikes to work. If you work on the 10th floor, take the stairs three times a week. Park at the outer edge of the parking lot. Bring a sandwich for lunch and walk while you eat it on your lunch break. There are lots of different ways to get exercise on a regular basis if you just put a little thought and effort into it.
6. Remember that something is better than nothing. Sometimes you just don’t want to go work out and do 45 minutes on the treadmill then 45 minutes in the weight room. You could decide to not go and sit on the couch and eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby Ice Cream. But instead, even if you do 15 minutes on the treadmill and then quit, going is better than having done nothing! It is a continual move in the right direction. (You can apply this principle to any area of life—saving even $50 a month is better than nothing!)