Exercise is of extreme importance to a well-rounded, successful life. It has been said, “Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”lxxxiv
When it comes to exercise, you do not need expert or expensive training to begin. Just start somewhere. I choose to go to the gym for most of my workouts, because of the variety of equipment and machines, but you don’t have to, especially if you are just beginning. Of all movement you need to do on a daily basis, organized exercise is probably the easiest to ignore. I, however, believe it is probably the most important.
Our bodies were created for movement. In today’s society there isn’t much opportunity to do what our bodies were meant to do. Today, we have drive-through everything, remote controls and a culture that says that it is ok to be a couch potato. It’s no wonder that so many in our society are out of shape and paying the price for it.
The only way to combat this trend is to get regular exercise. God did not design our bodies to be sitting behind a desk, at a computer, for 12 hours a day. If you don’t believe me on this, take a 30-day challenge. For the next 30 days, get some exercise at least 3 to 4 days a week. The exercise should consist of cardio, strength, flexibility and agility training.
You will be amazed at the results. You will have more energy and stamina; you will be more confident in everything you do and you will be more efficient. Believe it or not, the 90 minutes you “waste” in the gym will translate into more productive time so that you will get more done. You will also be happier with yourself and the world around you. Try it!
I have found that all four of the types of exercise mentioned above are important and they all serve a purpose.
Cardio training is used to get your cardiovascular system working more efficiently. This type of training will help you
to not get winded when having to do other tasks. You will also develop endurance by doing cardio training. Some examples of cardio training include running (or walking if you’re just getting started), biking or taking a cardio kick boxing class.
Strength training is important to help build your muscles. Building muscle mass is of far more importance than just trying to look good at the beach from June through August. Strength training will help you accomplish everyday tasks in a more efficient manner. Whether you struggle with opening a pickle jar or carrying the groceries in from the car, you will benefit from including this type of exercise in to your routine. Some examples of strength training include working out with weights and machines, or just doing exercises with your own body weight, such as push-ups and pull-ups. Strength training should also include work on your core, such as crunches and leg lifts.
The next two categories of exercise are the most neglected. Even among people who claim to be healthy or are otherwise in good shape, these two are often overlooked. Most people completely miss out on the benefits of flexibility and agility training.
Flexibility training is designed to help you move easier. Stretching increases your body’s flexibility and range of motion. The benefits of doing this type of training can be seen everywhere. From being able to easily bend over to tie your shoes to being able to stretch just a little bit more to change a blown out light bulb, your whole body will benefit from a stretching routine. I guarantee that your entire body will feel better when you begin to stretch, even if you have been exercising for years. You should be stretching all of your muscle groups. To find instructions for your flexibility training, simply do an Internet search; you will find all the information you need to get started.
Agility training is necessary so that you learn to move more efficiently. This last type of exercise that you should be doing is by no means the least important. In fact, you probably won’t have much success with agility training, unless you are able to work on the other areas, but doing agility conditioning will help you to move better and to enjoy life a whole lot more. I like to call agility training functional strength. You will gain the ability to move in a significant way by completing this form of exercise on a regular basis. I do Martial Arts training to gain and increase my agility, but there are many other activities that you can participate in to help you in this area. Agility training will also help you develop balance and other body control. This will translate into more efficient movement in your everyday life.
You need to find the combination of these different types of exercises that work best for you. It all depends on what your needs are. Also, don’t forget that your needs will change as your lifestyle changes. I remember when my son Michael and I started taking karate together. My flexibility wasn’t nearly where it should have been (because of years of neglect); so, I focused on that area every day. Once the desired level of flexibility was achieved, it no longer had to be done as much. It still needs to be done, but not as much, so other areas of exercise can be given more attention. Here are some tips to help you maintain your program:
- Don’t worry about occasionally missing workouts. I know many people who have gotten so angry with themselves for missing workouts. They allowed this anger to build to the point where they associated a great deal of pain with exercise; they no longer exercise.
- Don’t get so serious about your exercise program, that it is no longer fun. This is the surest way to guarantee your failure. Keep it fun and you will continue with it for years, even after many of the other people around you quit or slip out of their own program.
- There are no shortcuts. To reap the benefits, you have to do the work. Don’t be fooled into thinking there is a “faster ” way to exercise, or that you can get as healthy doing “five-minute abs,” two times a week, as someone who is in the gym everyday sweating and working out.
Like most things in life, there are extremes when it comes to exercise. Some people focus on all other areas of spirituality, neglecting exercise because they don’t see the connection of the two, or they don’t think it’s important. Other people take exercise and turn it into an all-consuming activity. They neglect other areas of spirituality and focus on exercise (which by itself has nothing to do with spirituality). Neither of these extremes indicates a balance in life. “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”lxxxv Exercise, when combined with a spiritual program of success, has an immense value; just don’t overdo it!
Michael at R2W
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