January 1, 2019. No matter what did or didn’t happen last night, let’s talk about feeling good. About what you might do so you’re Better than ever one year from now. So you feel better every day. Energetic, comfortable. Flexible. Balanced. Strong. Feeling like you can do anything you’d like to do. Go anywhere you’d like to go. Whenever you’d like.
I want to help you find the easiest way to do this. So I’ll start here: Don’t Just Sit There. Looks pretty obvious, but there’s much more than meets the eye. One of the most amazing and useful things to know about your body: it expects to you to get up and move, at least once every hour or two.
Like your ancestors did for tens of thousands of years. They did it so they’d have something for dinner. And so they wouldn’t become someone else’s dinner. When they weren’t on the move, their bodies conserved energy. Instead of burning glucose to power flexing muscles, their bodies converted it to a little fat. To burn next time they were hungry and on the move.
Here in the 21st century, our bodies still interpret sitting-around-doing-nothing as time to conserve energy. Like you’re going into hibernation or something. When you’re not flexing muscles, they don’t need much fuel. So your surplus fuel accumulates in your bloodstream in the form of blood sugar. And converts to fat. And this is where overweight, obesity, diabetes and all the other “metabolic syndrome” health risks begin.
And here’s the real kicker: even if you exercise vigorously for 30 minutes every day, you’re still at risk for all those things you exercise to avoid – if you spend hours on end just sitting. In front of a computer or a TV or anything else. But here’s the good Happy New Year news: it doesn’t take much to counteract this. One minute every hour or two does the trick. That’s all it takes to let your body know it’s not hibernation time.
So once a month for the whole year, we’ll do a Moving Monday. A minute at a time. So you can build up a repertoire of little exercises to get you up and off your butt every hour or two.
One other Monday every month, we’ll do a Well Balanced Monday. So you never end up on your butt accidentally. Exercises that strengthen the muscles you use to stay on your feet – and train them to react fast. You’ll feel the difference every time you step onto an uneven surface, a slippery surface or anything unstable.
Once a month, it’ll be Flexible Monday. Stretching exercises. Because flexible muscles make everything easier and less tiring. Lifting packages, bending over to tie your shoes or running to catch a bus. Stretching improves the range of motion of your joints. Which improves your balance and mobility. Every Thing is Everything.
And that fourth Monday every month’s gonna be Stronger Monday, Because, like the CDC (U. S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention) says, “Research has shown that strengthening exercises are both safe and effective for women and men of all ages, including those who are not in perfect health. In fact, people with health concerns – including heart disease or arthritis – often benefit the most from an exercise program that includes lifting weights a few times each week … As you grow older, it can be very powerful in reducing the signs and symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain, depression.” If, like me, you don’t like lifting weights, I’ll show you perfectly good alternatives.
And every now and then, I’ll sneak in an Aerobic Monday. Because improving your CardioRespiratory Fitness (CRF) through exercise is probably the most important health intervention available to lower your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many cancers. CRF is the capacity of your circulatory, respiratory and muscle systems to supply oxygen during sustained activities like walking and running. How do you make yours Better? Practice. Even in your own living room.
Sure, 2016 will bring hundreds of Ways to eat Better, too. Happy meals for your increasingly happy body. Happy New Year.
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