I’m a yoga fanatic. But I am not writing this blog to enroll you in the yoga movement if you aren’t already swept up in it. Instead, I want to talk about the real benefits I experience from regular exercise in my life and why our team is so committed to it that we even include it in our recommendations for the managers and partners we coach. If you want to increase your energy levels or improve your overall mood and positivity, which are two of the seven benefits of exercise the Mayo Clinic touts, “look no further than good old fashioned exercise.”
As Jennifer Wilson wrote in her March 25, 2009 blog post, Manage Stress, Don’t Let It Manage You, “Exercise produces “feel good” endorphins that help reduce or mitigate stress.” There is nothing like the endorphin high and energy rush that I get after a good run or bike ride or the combined stamina and relaxation I feel after an Ashtanga yoga session. Personally, I gain the health benefits that exercise provides and also benefit considerably by clearing my mind for an hour that gives me the energy – and “A-game” - I am then able to bring to my clients, co-workers, family and others with whom I come in contact after.
As we’re rapidly moving through February with the end of winter in sight, and for some of our friends in the accounting profession ramping up for the busiest time of the year, exercise could just be the energy booster you need. While the “experts” recommend that you exercise every day, you’ll reap benefits immediately by committing to start by exercising once or twice a week and then ramp up to more activity as you go. Pick activities that interest you and are easily accessible. For me, living in Minnesota, I have to belong to a gym to ensure that I have a year-round exercise program due to weather – since you will not find me running outdoors in sub-zero temperatures!
I also find that I am more motivated when I set exercise goals for myself, and they are usually pretty lofty so that I have to really work to achieve them – like running a half marathon the first year I started running or riding a 300-mile bike ride (over four days) last year after not having been on a bike for more than three years (check out my blog post on the realization of that goal at Speak It Into Existence). I also like to change it up to keep it interesting, so I’ll try new class times and teachers at the gym or new exercise forms to keep it fresh. Some people like a routine that they can count on and that’s fine, too.
If you’ve been putting off exercise because you don’t feel you have time, you don’t think it will be “fun” or you are afraid you won’t stick to it, I would encourage you just to pick something, check with your doctor to get clearance if needed, and get started anyway. Find a friend to join you, put it on your calendar just as you would a client appointment, and then keep the commitment. I have a friend who started her exercise plan two years and picked walking as the activity. This past year, she and several of her friends walked the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure here in Minnesota in August and took a “walking vacation” by completing the walk in Phoenix in November. You never know what sharing your commitment to exercise with a friend and then sticking to it can lead to!
Soon, you’ll get “hooked” on the real benefits of exercise and discover – as I did – that you don’t want to live without it! Post a comment and share what you’re going to do to – or are already doing –to enhance your well-being, energy level and overall outlook on life. We’d love to know what you’re up to!