“The good life is a process, not a state of being.”
  —Carl Rogers

self-care: exercise

Self-care is the practice of sufficiently prioritizing what helps you feel well.  As one option for self-care, exercise has a wide range of benefits, especially if you participate in it regularly.  Two or three sustainable exercise activities per week provide a great foundation for making exercise part of your life.  Your body will thank you for tuning it up.  Your whole being will.

If you aren’t exercising regularly, here’s a great way to start.  Do something you can sustain and go about it—especially at first—in a sustainable way.  Think about the first weeks collectively.  How and where will you fit manageable, even small, doses of exercise into your life for a period of one month.  It takes one month to land a new habit, so aim for one realistically.

It helps to enjoy what you do as exercise, so choose something with that potential for you.  You are more likely to sustain it that way.  Maybe you especially like swimming. Maybe you love to walk, but seldom do it anymore.  Maybe a short run in the morning or late afternoon invigorates you.  Maybe you are already thinking of something I haven’t suggested yet.  Great!

There’s also cross-training for times when you thrive on variety.  Why not invent your own version of that popular approach?  Play tennis one day, basketball the next, and break out the jump rope on the third.  Extend the concept of exercise beyond the physical realm by exercising freedom of choice about how you get to exercise.  Now you’re mind is getting limber too!

As you exercise consistently, you will likely experience changes of all kinds.  Pay attention to them.  Watch the whole cycle.  How are you starting to feel before you engage in exercise, while you are doing it, afterwards?  How is the process evolving and where might you presently attend to it for the best self-care results ahead?  The whole point was and is to treat yourself well.

The benefits of regular exercise include:

  • increases self-esteem
  • Increases self-confidence.
  • lifts depression
  • increase strength and flexibility
  • boosts happiness levels
  • restores funny bone
  • generates energy
  • helps for setting—and achieving—goals
  • reduces risk of heart disease
  • improves sleep ease and quality
  • improves memory