How Much is Enough? (A Conversation)

conversation

How much exercise do I need to do?

Well, tell me, for you to enjoy life, what do you need and want your body to be able to do?

I would love to be able to play with my kids, do things around the house more easily, go hiking and bike riding, { insert your answer here }. 

Sounds like you want to be physically fit for life, for greater overall well-being?

Yeah, but that fitness stuff is way too difficult/complicated/time consuming/embarrassing! I just can’t do all that stuff those fitness people do! I try but never stick with it.

How about we look at the definition of physical fitness for your goal of enjoying life more.

Physical fitness means being able to:

  • meet the physical demands of daily life without undue fatigue,
  • enjoy activities you like to do for fun, and
  • be physically able to meet emergency situations.

Yes, that’s what I want! I miss out on fun things because my body can’t do them easily.  I am tired at the end of the day. I would love to have more energy for enjoying life. And yes, I do worry that I could not help myself or others in an emergency.

I have good news! Fitness for well-being is simple.

Really?!

Really it is! It does not need to be complicated. Simply consistently practice the types of movements you want to be easier, at a level slightly above usually needed in daily life. As the body adapts to these challenges, activities become easier.

  • Boosting Stamina:  Three days a week of continuous movement (walking, seated aerobics, dancing, etc.) at a level that comfortably challenges breathing (but is not uncomfortable), for about 30 minutes, will boost stamina.  Take the first and last five minutes of that 30 minutes at a light level to warm up and cool down.
  • Practicing Alignment:  Just like a vehicle, our bodies need to be in alignment to function best. Rounded shoulders, feet turned out when walking, rounded back when bending – all create unnecessary wear and tear. Restoring natural alignment of the body when sitting, standing, and moving is an important, yet often overlooked, part of fitness. Stay tuned for more on this component in future blogs.
  • Building Strength:  Consistently performing challenging movements with natural alignment, the body becomes functionally stronger so daily life becomes easier. With a program based on movement science, this is possible in as little as 15-30 minute sessions two days a week with minimal equipment. Stay tuned to this blog for more helpful resources.
  • Restoring Movement:  The body is designed to function well and movement activates it. Avoiding prolonged inactivity reduces the risk of limitations from pain and disease. Incorporating daily stretching before and after exercise, as well as during movement breaks, provides many added well-being benefits.

Sounds great but it’s my weight that limits me.  When I lose weight, I will be more fit. 

Have you seen people who carry excess weight and still enjoy the freedom that physical fitness brings? Research indicates the payoffs from fitness are available at any weight.

Yes,  I have seen them. I guess it is possible. But it sounds like it takes a lot of time. I  just don’t have time for that right now.

It is an investment in time, that is for sure.  It comes to about 3 hours of structured time a week, plus the small movement breaks during the day.  Let’s say at most 5 hours a week or about 3% of the total hours in a week.

Investment:  3% of weekly time.

Payoff:  greater freedom to enjoy life.

Sounds like a worthwhile investment!  But it still seems a bit overwhelming.

Being overwhelmed is certainly not the way to your goal of well-being.

So let’s keep it simple and easy –  take it one step at a time, making it work for you, your goals, your life.

Still not so sure?  Let’s chat some more!

May You Be Well,

Signature

Janet Huehls, MA, RCEP, CHWC

 

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