Several years ago, I kicked the scale to the curb knowing there was more to a healthy body than the numbers. Once my focus shifted, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. As corny as it sounds, it’s true. I wanted to be healthy in all aspects of my life. Eating cleaner, exercising every day and improving my mental health were all benefits I wanted for the long run.
Now in the depths of my 40’s, knowing this is the only body I have, the importantance to take care of it is high. As you age, other people’s opinions become a moot point and it’s more about maintaining a healthy body to carry you into the next season of life.
Rewind back to the pandemic, also a monumental time of reflection about the future, my family and I were going on daily walks. I also maintained my yoga routine, but there was still a lot of sitting around.
Running was not in my arsenal any longer as I suffered with plantar fasciitis after training for a marathon. Wanting more than an occasional walk and yoga, it was time to make a change.
Pre-covid, my mentality was in order to get a really good workout meant:
- Going to the gym
- Taking an in person class
- Getting OUT of the house
Well, we were quarantined, so now what?
After doing some searching, I found some YouTube workouts but nothing stuck and I felt blah!
Several years later, the realization came; my body needed several types of exercises to function properly, and I had found the Holy Grail. These 5 reasons have proven to benefit my body inside and out on a daily basis.
1. Stamina to keep up with daily activities
Raise your hand if the challenge of carrying as many grocery bags in one trip makes you want to say: BRING IT ON!
Strength training isn’t something I’ve always loved. Although, through my research everything said once you hit 35, you lose muscle mass. *insert eye roll*
My hairdresser was raving and posting about this program she was doing. At first, I figured it was another one of “those things” but eventually I took the plunge to try it myself. It’s been almost a year and I’ve never stuck with a combo of strength training and cardio for that long.
The Ladies Edge and their 23 minute workouts have not only given my arm muscles a boost, but also have built up strength in my shoulders and back to carry big things.
One of my life goals is maintaining high level functioning around the house without feeling worn out. My husband and I do a lot of home projects. Taking a break because I’m tired and out of shape used to get us out of our groove. Now, he’s stopping well before I am and I’m raring to tackle more.
Several weeks ago, my daughter and I were in DC for a volleyball tournament. The convention center was about a mile from our hotel. Many of us walked to and from allowing me to notice some parents were struggling with even this amount of walking.
Keeping up on my weekday workouts gave me the increased stamina to comfortably walk over 7 miles each day of our trip without hesitation.
2. Exercise gives me energy all day long
When the blood is pumping and flowing throughout my body after a workout, the afternoon slump that used to hit is not there.
I’ve found by combining movement, lots of water and making good food choices for the rest of the day keeps me energized.
It’s funny how when I get my workout in during the morning hours, I am apt to make better choices for the remainder of the day. The headspace I’m in begins a snowball effect to fueling my body.
I will actually take a hot second to think about if I really want something or if it’s just a craving that could go away if I take a chug of water instead.
3. Daily exercise provides focus on tasks
After finishing up my daily exercises, I take a few minutes to jot down my schedule for the day in my all in one journal and planner. By taking the time each morning to map out what your day will look like, you will know what you need to focus on.
Give your thinking mind a break and release all those thoughts onto paper through your pen without judgement. Boosting your serotonin levels through exercise will help you be able to concentrate on your projects in a more focused manner
Be proud of yourself when check off your to-do list by staying committed and focused throughout the day, knowing you tackled your workouts to give your mind clarity to stay on task.
4. Mental clarity to generate ideas
All three of my workouts take about an hour and half to two hours each day. I split it up throughout the morning in between getting the kids up and ready for school.
While it might sound like a lot, each workout is only about 25 minutes. This way I can easily intersperse then out between school drop offs.
My one rule is to not have my phone nearby as a distraction. I want to be present in the moment and not worry about what I have going on for the rest of the day. Sure, it floats into my brain but it’s not generated by a notification going off on my phone.
Taking the dog for her daily walk gives me that mental clarity I need from all the outside noise. I’m sure I look like a fool to anyone who comes within 20 feet of me, because I am literally having a conversation with myself.
I use this time out in nature to connect with getting Vitamin D and having “me time”. I work out a lot of issues and anxiety over my problems on our walks. My dog gets to roam freely on the path and in the giant field behind our house while I do a lot of mental processing.
Our daily walks generate a majority of my ideas. I’ve written entire books on these walks through talking out the next scene. I’ll map out plans for my writing or new ideas both personally and professionally.
Side note: I created this whole article on our walk just hashing out ideas along the way.
Being in nature gives me the freedom to be distraction-free and really spew ideas out left and right.
5. Flexibility in both mind and body
During the pandemic, we clocked a lot of hours watching tv. Oops.
My hips got ready tight as a result and made it painful to do everyday things. Once I got back on the Yoga With Adriene train after taking a couple months (ok…6 months), I realized how much the hip openers hurt.
It was going to take some time to be more flexible in my body. Once I gave into all the stretching; not only did my muscles relax but so did my internal organs. Yoga and daily stretching is helpful with digestion and really gets things moving. *wink wink*
Being a type A person, I love structure and schedules to keep me on track. I have to remind myself that not everyone (even people in my house) operate on the same M.O.
While I love to do my workouts on a timetable, being open to opportunities allows me to be more flexible in other areas of my life:
- Saying yes to a friend who needs my help picking up her child from school.
- Taking a mid day shopping trip with my daughter giving us more one on one time together.
- Playing board games as a family unscheduled for fun.
6. Bonus Benefit: Exercise allows me to be kinder to people
Because of the endorphins released during a sweaty or challenging workout, I’m able to center my energy on the task at hand. With adrenaline pumping from the training, I’m given a much needed stress relief.
In our big family, we are always on the go. With all those moving parts, you can imagine it gets a little stressful. I get irritated when we are late or people are moving slow. Exercise gives me the strength of patience with the people I love and those I come in contact with.
Daily movement gives me the composure to know people aren’t provoking me on purpose. The benefits of exercising each day are more than the 6 I’ve listed above, but these help go from surviving to thriving in my daily life.