31 Days and Counting: Finding the Value of Daily Exercise

icytaraI don’t always make resolutions, but at the beginning of each New Year I do take the time to reflect about the past year of my life and think about what future actions I could take to make my coming years better in some way.

Although we are an active family and I’m committed to exercise and a healthy lifestyle, I decided to stretch myself more this year. On January 1st, I committed to exercising at least 30 minutes per day for the next 365 days.  The exercise can be anything that is consistent and sustained for at least 30 minutes – walking, running, yoga, x-country skiing, biking or any other moderate activity. It doesn’t have to be intense, just daily.

I set this goal for a number of reasons, but there is one reason that stands out: The busier life gets, the easier it is to have the things we do to support and maintain our health get further and further down the list of priorities.  By setting this goal and committing to it every day (as opposed to a certain number of times per week), getting my 30 minutes in is one of the first things I think about when I wake up.  I consciously make time in my schedule to make sure it gets done.

After completing my first 31 days I realize how many days in the past I would have missed an opportunity to get outside, breathe fresh air and move my body and blood.  Not because I didn’t have the time, but because I didn’t use my time for this critical part of healthy living.  We all have 30 minutes a day to walk, but there are plenty of days when your life gets a hold of you and the day is over before you’ve had a chance to even think about exercising.

I already feel stronger and healthier. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re wondering whether it’s worthwhile, here are a few more benefits:

  • You’ll sleep better (and so will your kids if they join you!)
  • You’ll reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and almost every other non-congenital condition on the planet
  • You’ll improve your mood and stave off seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • You’ll likely notice a change in your body in terms of your body fat and how your clothes fit
  • You’ll boost your immune system and reduce your likelihood of colds and flus

If you’re interested in jumping aboard my 365 days of active living, I encourage you to do so – there’s no need to wait until next January. Recruit a friend. Buy an iPod and use that 30 minutes to learn a language, listen to books, download a great podcast on active living,  or groove to your favorite tune. Or just use the time to disconnect, de-stress and enjoy some solitude.

Only 334 more days to go!



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