Integrate Exercise For Best Results

From my Healthy Living column in Moncton’s Times & Transcript.

Personally, I’m a big fan of resolutions. I don’t just make them at the beginning of the year, but also on my birthday (today), at the beginning of summer, at the beginning of the school year, and each time I finish an activity for the year. My latest resolution, inspired by the return of warm weather, is exercise related.

Of all the healthy habits, I find exercise the most difficult to practice. I realize that some people find the exact opposite true; they exercise over the recommended amount without even thinking about it. Why the difference? I think it depends on the situation someone is in.

When my parents were young and they lived in the city, they spent hours exercising  because they didn’t have other options. My mom’s mother couldn’t drive a car when my mom was young and her father was gone at work all day. As a result, my mom had to walk or bike to school and back twice a day (since she came home for lunch at noon) and she had to walk or bike to anywhere else she wanted to go. Naturally, since there wasn’t much to be done indoors (No one had computers and ipods back then), she and her friends usually played some type of sport (swimming, tennis, skating, skiing, etc.) when they wanted to have fun.  My dad’s parents never drove him anywhere and he spent large amounts of time walking, running, and biking to and from all his activities. He also spent considerable amounts of time shoveling snow, completing various household chores, playing hockey, skating, and skiing.

As for me, I couldn’t exercise several hours a day even if I wanted to. I would have to walk much  too far and in not-so-safe conditions to get to and from my activities ( which tend to be unathletic in nature, e.g. Playing the clarinet) and I’d probably annoy my companions. My current exercise routine consists of walking with the family dog on a daily basis and the occasional workout, which I do for the sole purpose of doing more exercise. I realize that to some more athletic people the quantity of exercise I do probably seems meager. What can I say? My goals and aspirations don’t consist of athletic feats, although I realize that having good health (which, of course, requires exercise) is important if I want to have the energy and endurance to achieve those goals and aspirations. I’ve always been more ”bookish” than athletic and I’ve built my life around that. My lifestyle now requires that I create opportunities to exercise if I want to do more exercise, rather than allowing me to simply take on existing opportunities.

No, I’m not blaming reduced physical activity on lack of time or lack of knowledge, I’m just pointing out that the easiest way to fit exercise into someone’s life would be to transform his life so he was required to exercise regularly without having to prioritize it. This is why, in order to live up to my latest resolution, I will be looking for ways to make exercise a more integral part of my life.

 

Originally published in the Times & Transcript on April 24th, 2010.

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