David Patchell-Evans in his book, Living the Good Life asks this question: ‘Why is it that only one out of five people – 20 per cent of the population – exercise regularly? Why do the other 80 per cent not bother?’
My recent travels have allowed for substantial time in airports and other such public locations, to carefully observe people, the shape they are in and the inevitable deterioration that is part of the aging process.
Frankly, it’s scary to see what is happening to the physique of men, women and children. Not only are a major part of the populace burdened and ladened with excess weight, there is a definite lack of vitality and zest evident in how people walk, sit and perform. People look and are tired. Many look far older than they really are.
For many, exercise has become a boxed item, a one-hour a day, three times a week workout concept that, for the unfit, cries out of pain, difficulty and sacrifice of personal comfort.
For many overweight people, exercise is the big-bad word that invokes dread. How have we come so far?
‘Positive adherence to physical activity is food that brings balance to the soul, the intellect, the heart, and the body’, writes Mr. Patchell-Evans.
I could not agree more. Exercise became an integral part of the process of my losing weight, not only because of calories burned and metabolism boosted, but because of the emotional and psychological benefits – the absolute sense of well being that results from the increase in oxygen, blood circulation and endorphins naturally released through the process of physical movement.
With regular exercise, we also look good. But, you know all this. How do we get from knowing that something is good for you to doing it?
As pleasure seeking beings, finding physical activities that make you feel good is important. For me, this means water.
Whether it’s swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving or a Burdenko water conditioning class, my entire energy system changes to a positive vibe when in water.
You may like the heart-pumping action of a run or bike ride or the relaxing and stretching effects of a yoga class. The key is to start and continue, to get over the hump of resistance. You can get to the place where you exercise because you want to, not because you have to.
The obstacles that immediately rear up in your mind, (not enough time to exercise) are merely illusions. We were made to move and building physical activity into your lifestyle is absolutely possible if the intention to do so is yours.
In New Brunswick, Canada, I daily took long walks and encountered an elderly gentleman each time. Mr. LeBlanc informed me that he was 88 years of age, fit as a fiddle, and the dancing light in his eyes attested to the vitality and zest he has for life. He informed me that he has been walking for over 40 years, coming home each day after a job as a salesman on the road, and walked in rain, shine and snow.
Making the decision to improve your level of physical fitness immediately boosts self-esteem. As you become fitter, you find that balance begins in other areas of your life. Your sleep patterns improve. Stress levels drop. You will have increased energy to accomplish all your daily tasks. Your attitude will become more positive.
During the course of my professional life, I have had occasion to work in summer camping programs for children and adults, many of whom were wheel-chair bound and could not walk, swim or bike. They would have traded places with us in a heartbeat.
Appreciate the daily opportunities you have for physical activity in the wonderful climate of the Cayman Islands, develop a healthy mindset for exercise and get you and your family on the right track for healthy living.
Not everybody is cut out to be an athlete, but we can all be fit.