’Tis the season…to move

July 16, 2023

THIS is the time of the year to start exercising if you aren’t already in a regular routine. The conditions and light are right! You have the longest days and the best temperatures of the year right now. Whether you like the morning or evening for exercising, you have daylight for both.

But you don’t like to exercise? We’ll go over some tips to make exercise more enjoyable in this article but first let’s talk about the benefits, which just may be enough to get you moving. Individuals who exercise regularly often do so simply because of the benefits, which usually come a few weeks after beginning exercise, so the trick is to set a goal to stick to a daily routine for three months and then assess if it is worth it to continue after that time.

Benefits of exercise:

  • Improves your memory and brain function (all age groups)
  • Protects against many chronic diseases
  • Aids in weight management
  • Lowers blood pressure and improves heart health
  • Improves quality of sleep
  • Reduces feelings of anxiety and depression
  • Combats cancer-related fatigue
  • Improves joint pain and stiffness
  • Maintains muscle strength and balance
  • Increases life expectancy

I’m sure you can find at least one benefit on the list above that you would like to enjoy. Perhaps all of them!

Below are some tips that might help you to get started and stay motivated (remembering that motivated comes after we start something, NOT before).

TIPS to make EXERCISE happen:

  • Plan each week when you will exercise
  • Dress appropriately (plan your outfit and you are more likely to follow through since the hardest part is getting out the door or getting dressed to work out). So, if it rains or snows, or you aren’t a morning person, you have your outfit ready and you will be comfortable.
  • Get out in the morning if you have a hard time being consistent (make it the first thing you do after your tea/coffee/water/small snack).
  • Ask a friend to meet you at the same time each day.
  • Have a goal of three months which is enough time to make it a habit and part of your life. You won’t want to stop after three months and will feel many benefits at this point.
  • Start slow. Twenty minutes per day at first is plenty. Increase by a few minutes each week. Aim for five days per week so you have two days as flex days in case something comes up.
  • Stress management is one of the most important benefits of exercise, and stress affects your physical health, so you are addressing your emotional, mental and physical health when you exercise. It can also be for your spiritual health if you choose to practice mindfulness, prayer or meditation while you move.

If you are trying to sleep better, eat better, or just be better, exercise will help. No one ever regretted a walk or a workout. For those who feel they don’t have time, I assure you, we all spend time on social media, or thinking about exercising that could be better spent just doing it.

“Your life is your story, write well and edit often.”

~Susan Statham

This can be applied to anything in our life but let’s apply it to exercise. To me, this means we will stop and start many times, change things up, make mistakes, adjust the activity, let it slip lower onour priority list, give up and then start again in a different way. When we learn what works better for us at different times in our life, that makes it more sustainable. Things will work better at different times in our life and so we adjust. It isn’t quitting and it isn’t failing: it’s moving on.

Try not to be hard on yourself or expect yourself to do it perfectly, or never miss a day or week. Being active is worth it! And it can help the rest of your life fall into place.

Yours in health,

Glenna Calder, Naturopathic Doctor