Tip #7 Exercise!
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. You need to exercise. So far in these self-discipline tips to achieve your goals in 2016, I’ve talked a lot about the parts of your brain that are in charge of making it easy to get what you want and to stay focused. When we exercise, we are producing neurotransmitters that swim through our bodies and enlighten our minds. That is why you here so many people say that they get their best ideas in the gym or when they are running/swimming/cycling. There’s just something about pushing your body to its physical boundaries that opens up our thinking. Perhaps it’s just because we let go and we don’t force ourselves to think. Perhaps its because the oxygen and the blood pumping helps feed the brain and awaken it to insights that were previously dormant.
How much exercise should you do? I see the “30 minutes 4 times a week” rule quite often. I’m not sure there’s any proof behind this but I do know that should be the minimum. I’m more a 6-7 day a week person. I feel awful when I haven’t exercised.
When should you exercise? The golden rule here is when you are going to CONSISTENTLY make the choice to do so. My husband and I work out first thing in the morning. The reason for this is that nothing else can get in the way. Nothing at work can stop us because its 5:30AM. Nothing in our family life is going to stop us, because we are both doing it. And nothing normally does stop us. The times I know I don’t workout are related to health. After surgeries, I’m doing rehabilitation exercises instead of a full workout. If I’m sick, I’m normally asleep. If the only thing I can do is walk through the park (which is a 45 minute walk), that’s all I do. But I still get up and do it. Choose a time during the day, each day and plan for it in advance. Make an appointment with yourself just like you would with a client or your boss. Keep this appointment just like you would with a client or a boss.
What exercise should you do? For me there are a few MUSTS – at least once a week doing something that is cardio focused, at least once per week doing something that is weight bearing and at least once per week doing something that focuses on flexibility. As we get older, movement is essential. This is why I believe that flexibility is important. You can choose yoga, dance, pilates or something else that forces you to move your body in ways that it normally doesn’t move. Also, as we get older, weight bearing exercises are very important as we are constantly losing muscle mass. There are 90-year old body builders so don’t tell me that you can’t lift weights. My focus when weight lifting is on my legs. I don’t have fancy equipment so I use my body weight as well as small weights and agility exercises to increase my muscle mass. Also, I’m primarily focused on my legs when I’m doing weights. And lastly, cardio. Cardio is essential to keep that blood flowing and your heart and lungs healthy. When I haven’t been running for awhile, I can really feel the burn in my chest. And when I’m running harder than I normally do, I can feel that burn again. Again, this is when my best ideas come. It’s something about the cardio workouts.
Where should you exercise? If you belong to a gym, great. If you have a park nearby like I do, great. If you want to go to a yoga, zumba, pilates, cycling, step, or body pump class, go! No matter where I am in the world, I always see people working out in the morning when I do. Some are taking a boot camp class, some are running with their friends, some are out with their dogs, some are in gyms. It doesn’t really matter where you go, just go. Stop making excuses about the time it takes, or you don’t know anyone, or you don’t like the instructor or whatever excuse you have. Keep looking, keep testing different things and get yourself into a routine that you consistently commit to.
How does this help your goals? Trust me. You will be so much more focused and clear about taking those steps to achieve your goals when you’ve exercised. Your will find temptation fading away. You will find self-sabotage lessening. You will have a different mental picture of what you can achieve when there’s achievement happening in this area of your life. It’s a ripple effect.
Remember to exercise according to your own health and fitness levels and if you believe you need to – consult your doctor (though he/she probably has no training in physical fitness).
Did you see Tip #1 on Sleep? Or Tip #2 on the 10-Minute Rule? Or Tip #3 on Food? Or Tip #4 on the Fishbowl? Or Tip #5 on Friends? Or Tip #6 on TV?