The first and most important issue underlying the meaning of fitness is the question Fitness for what? The answer is person-specific. Exercise can improve many things in your life. Which one is the motivator that matters to you? Fit mind, Fit body puts it, the biggest change in the perception of exercise is the meaning you give it. Scientifically, we know 10 minutes of movement can make huge shifts in so many areas: confidence, energy, decision making, clarity, creativity, relationships, and emotional well being the list goes on.
A small amount can make a big difference. A 30 minute walk after dinner reduced glucose levels in people with diabetes. A study shows that taking three 10 minute walks daily lowers blood pressure. One study shows that just 2 minutes of deep breathing exercise per day reduced stress and improved quality of life.
Once you start moving, the best way to keep moving is to find a fitness activity you enjoy. We spend a lot of time on thinking. But a lot of what we do is based on feeling. If what we do feels good, we are more likely to do it. If we exercise in a way that feels good for us, it is more likely to happen.
Broaden your perspective of fitness. Fitness can happen at the gym, but it can also come from dance classes, walking the dog, swimming or playing with the grandkids. Activities of daily living- vacuuming, gardening, - all add up to moving more. Be creative. Find a way to move that feels good to you, both mentally and physically, and you’re more likely to keep moving.
Remember that engaging in healthy behaviors is a better predictor of overall health than weight. Let go of the external pressure of the scale, your pants size or the mirror. To see results focus on how you feel. Is it easier for you to climb stairs than it was a week ago, or cover more ground in the same amount of time? These things tell you that what you are doing is working. Your energy levels and mood are also likely to change with regular exercise have you noticed a change there?
Exercise as you age. Consider the three S’s: Be smart, sincere and safe. A fitness plan that’s fun that feels good and that makes you feel good about yourself. That’s when exercise becomes self-care- and the best gift you can give yourself. That’s fitness for your life.
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