Yesterday I got brave and decided to try the fast 3 mile walk with Leslie Sansone! It was fast but it felt so good to challenge my body in that way and it really is a fun walk with more variety than the others I am more used to. But today, I tried to do it again and I got to the one mile mark and stopped. There is no valor in pushing beyond reason. Injuries occur when you don't listen to your body!
That got me thinking to some guidelines and ideas about exercise. First of all exercise is really important whether you need to lose weight or not. Everyone should have 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 times a week to stay healthy. Leslie says that exercising on a regular basis takes ten years off your life and if you don't exercise, it's like adding ten years! Exercise definitely has been making my joints more mobile and flexible as well as giving me an underlying level of energy I have not had for years. For someone who suffers from chronic migraines and the accompanying chronic fatigue, that is remarkable!
Some of the things I have learned about exercising:
1. You don't have to keep up with the exercise instructor. As long as you keep moving you are exercising and your body is benefiting. Work up to a level you are able to do.
2. Don't give up, but don't push yourself to an unreasonable point where you will injure yourself!
3. Listen to your body. There are times where you should decrease the rigor of your exercise or eliminate all together. i.e. The air quality is affecting your breathing, you are wheezing, you have chest tightness/tingling/pain (If you have heart issues, you definitely need to have doctor approval for the type of exercise you pursue! Everyone should check with a health provider before starting an exercise regime.), you have a cold virus, you feel pain in your muscles, joints etc., you are menstruating, you have a fever.
4. Keep your body hydrated!!! Good old fashioned water is the best. I keep a 14 oz glass of water on the shelf near where I exercise and stop a couple times to take a drink. If your body does not have water, it will have to take it from other parts of your body to keep your main organs functioning. If you perspire a lot during exercise, it is even more important. Sports drinks are just expensive soda pop. The first ingredient in many of them, who you might think of as healthy, is high fructose corn syrup! Yuck!
5. Eat fresh live, foods. One of my favorite treats after exercising is a fresh fruit smoothie. For a little protein for lasting power, I will add some yogurt, kefir or peanut butter (depending on the flavor). Many fruits contain water themselves as well as vitamins. I try to make mine rainbow...red, yellow, blue, green... add as many nutrients as possible. Your body will thrive on having raw, fresh, live foods!
6. Don't cheat and skip the cool down and stretches (or the warm up). Many times this is what causes injury.
7. Sometimes your body actually does need a break from the exercise to repair muscles and tissue that have broken down. Just make sure your break isn't a permanent vacation! :o)
For a little encouragement, I joined the Walk Club at Leslie Sansone's site. I know she is not for everyone but this type of exercise really suits my body and my life. What are you all doing? I love hearing from you. Thanks for all the input last week both in comments and off list about how you incorporate your faith and exercise. A special thanks goes to Theresa, who encouraged me with Isaiah 40:31!
But those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.