POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Feb 8, 2011
Exercise, once a natural and everyday part of life, has become a chore and something for which we need to make time. Modern living, with our cars, grocery stores and remote controls, outpaced our evolution and now denies us what our bodies were designed to do: move.
We are hardwired to use our bodies physically. The rush of epinephrine and seratonin released as a result of vigorous exercise is a testament to that.
Therefore, exercise for the sake of moving your body and knowing that you are doing one of the best things you can for yourself. Do not exercise to lose weight. Do not exercise because the "experts" say you have to.
It's inevitable that any goal you set for yourself that makes exercise a requirement is doomed to fail. You might achieve the temporary satisfaction of the initial weight loss or fitting into that dress for that special evening, but once that is done, your life and habits are still essentially the same.
What if, say, your exercise "requirement" involved getting together with friends to walk around the park to catch up with the day's events? Sound too boring and low key? How about trying those classes where you dance to Latin music in your sneakers? Do you have a toddler at home? Crawling around with them and playing storm the castle is always fun. The list is endless.
To answer the question you're probably asking: Yes, it's enough. It's enough that you are moving and getting enjoyment out of it. It's proven that doing physical activity you enjoy is more effective in weight loss permanency than doing the same amount of calorie-burning activity you find tedious.
Take the worry and pressure to exercise out of the equation and do something you find fun. If you do not know what is fun for you, try many different things until you do find something. Worry not about the weight loss or that your blood pressure is too high or that your cholesterol levels are off. Once you get out there and start moving on a daily basis, all those benefits will happen as positive side effects of enjoying yourself.
Consider these questions when you're checking out a new activity:
» Do you feel comfortable doing it?
» Can you see yourself doing it regularly?
» Do you like the people who are in the group?
» When you are finished, do you feel content?
Remember, the search for a fun activity is an exercise in itself, so be sure to have fun while doing that as well.
Reggie Palma is an exercise physiologist and personal trainer. His website is fitnessatyourdoorhawaii.com.E-mail questions to him at Fitnessatyourdoor@Mac.com.