Tony little. Jane Fonda. Billy Blanks. Olivia Newton John. Tony Horton. Who in the past has been your guide into the world physical fitness? Who have you depended on to be your cheerleader? We all need people in our lives to be the wind at our back, our cheerleaders, and our guides; especially in areas of our lives that are a struggle.
Rhythms of life that include exercise routines are a source of struggle for me and many like me. Life keeps changing. The tyranny of the urgent rears its ugly head constantly. Internal and external forces are relentless in their pursuit to overtake and subdue any exercise routine. The battlefield of the mind is a fierce one. “I just don’t have time today.” “I don’t really feel well.” “Nah.” “I’ll start tomorrow.” “My life and work keep me moving all day, I already get plenty of exercise.” “I’m just too tired.” And on and on it goes. This is a small peek into my own personal battle. I get it. You are not alone if regular exercise rhythms are a struggle.
I am so thankful God gave me a husband who genuinely loves to exercise! His enthusiasm is contagious and his encouragement can be the extra nudge I need to overcome my arguments with myself. He is almost always right when he tells me, “If you exercise, you’ll be glad you did.” He also says, “Something is always better than nothing.”
Hey, I don’t need to convince you that exercise is a good thing. We all know that. I do want to encourage you however to not let confinement and social distancing derail any routine you’ve already fought to establish, or keep you from establishing a new routine. In fact, now is the perfect time to begin a new habit. I admit that when I pulled up to our local YMCA a couple weeks ago and found the parking lot empty, I was genuinely bummed out. I had finally developed a fairly consistent rhythm of exercise routine that I looked forward to. I have discovered that when I have my phone and earbuds, I can feel as though I’ve escaped the world around me. I am in my own little world. In it, I can think, pray, not talk, or answer to anyone. It’s just me and God. I have also found it the perfect time to listen to audio Bible, audiobooks and instructional podcasts. I’m working to strengthen my body and mind at the same time! That’s double productivity!
To triple the productivity of exercise, consider this. There will always be unforseen circumstances, negative news, fear and anxiety producing events in our world. These are at work to threaten your happiness and sense of well-being. Exercise is one surefire way you can fight for your own happiness. But, solitude is a tough adversary for the mind to overcome when faced with the decision to exercise or not.
So my tip for today has two parts. First, choose do something you would consider exercise every day. It may require some reimagining and creativity, but there are so many ways you can get yourself moving, get your heart-rate up, get your lungs working and your muscles flexing! You don’t have to have a gym to get good benefits from physical activity. Here are a few ideas just to spark your thinking. Social distancing does not include the great outdoors. In fact, when the walls of your home may be a reminder of all you can’t do right now, going outside may be one of the best things you can do for yourself. Go for a walk or a jog. Get your bike out, tune it up and find a path or a quiet neighborhood to pedal around. Find a fitness class on YouTube. Go play yard games with your kids. Set a goal for push-ups, sit-ups, or time in a plank position. Reading a book? Do some wall sits or sit on the carpet and stretch. Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated or crazy hard to be effective. In fact, some the most old school exercises are still the best and most effective! You have the time. You have the space. Go for it!
The second part of today’s tip is, find someone to be your guide or cheerleader. Mine is my husband. In fact one thing we love to do together is exercise. Now that the weather is warming up we are really enjoying taking walks together. It makes me happy! Who can be there for you to help you in your daily battle to decide to be active. Who will be your guide? Who will be your encourager? Who can you depend on to help you fight anxiety and depression by helping you decide to exercise? And, who can you offer to encourage in return. Let’s give ourselves the best chances we can to be happy. Let’s help each other keep moving.
Until tomorrow, I hope you see what God has placed in your life to bless your soul.