OK. I am NOT going to encourage you to join a Gym, a "Fitness Program", or an exercise regime that is going to cost you a lot in either MONEY or TIME! Sound too good to be true? Well, "Fitness" (and that includes "Exercise") does not have to be expensive in order to offer you the rewards you desire. The answers to your exercise problems can be answered right here, right now -- without spending any money!
RIGHT NOW, I want you to rip up every "calorie-counting" plan that you have ever tried to stick to! I also want you to throw away every exercise regime that you have EVER vowed to keep. THEY ARE ALL UNNECESSARY! And they are all, for the most part, BUNK! The fact is that DIETS do not work and neither do exercise regimes -- unless you are strong enough to adhere to them! The FACT is that most of us are NOT ABLE to adheare to them! And TRYING to adhere to them simply WEAKENS OUR RESOLVE and our CONFIDENCE in our own ability to perform them! So let's let ALL OF THAT go RIGHT NOW!
If you are one of the STRONG ones amongst us, and you CAN KEEP to a very rigid, structured REGIME of exercise and bodybuilding, then I APPLAUD YOU! And I wish you the best! If, however, you are among the Many of us who have Tried to enter into a regime of exercise that would keep you healthy, and have FAILED, then I would suggest that you keep reading!!!
Listen, the Health Benefits of a regular exercise routine are PROVEN: It can:
Improve your MENTAL OUTLOOK (help with depression, stress, etc.)
Strengthens the IMMUNE SYSTEM (so that you DO NOT get sick so often and so that you can withstand and defeat viruses and bacterial attacks).
Lower your BLOOD PRESSURE: Most of us are "TOO HIGH" you know!
INCREASE BONE MINERALIZATION and decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
LOWER THE RISK OF HEART DISEASE, and increase the level of your "HDL" ("good Cholesterol").
And it improves weight control and aids in weight-loss. It even improves your prospects of controlling diabetes without the use of drugs.
Exercise helps your circulatory system, increases stamina, improves skin tone, keeps your joints limber, and gives your mental attitude a charge!
Let me ask you: "Do you WAKE UP in the morning and JUMP out of bed feeling like you are READY for a NEW DAY? If not, why? Do you wake up, instead, feeling "Groggy" and wish you could sleep for another few hours? Do you feel "RUN-DOWN" -- even when you are starting your day, or during the day as you try to meet everyone's expectations for you? If so, then you NEED to add some exercise into your daily regime!
Exercise DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PAINFUL! Exercise is NATURAL, if you will be "Mindful of it! For example; Do you jump in your CAR just to run down the block to pick up a soft-drink or a loaf of bread? Do you take the ELEVATOR when you are visiting an office building or meeting your spouse for lunch? Most Americans live very sedentary lives. We get up in the morning and jump in our car and drive to work. Once there, we are often sitting or standing in one place for long periods of time. Then we jump in the car and head back home. We walk in the door and promptly fall into our easy-chair and turn on the TV. And there we sit for hours. Then off to bed. Does it surprise you at all that you are out of shape and have no energy to do anything else?! If you look seriously at your own lifestyle and how much actual exercise you get during your day, can you say that you are physically fit? If not, then how can you change this? Do you have to join a gym in order to get the exercise you need? The answer is a surprising NO!
The point here is that you can get A LOT of exercise if you would only CHANGE YOUR CURRENT HABITS! TAKE THE STAIRS if you are going to meet someone on any floor above ground-level. WALK if you are only going to be traveling a few blocks. Take every opportunity to WALK that you can and "save the gas" for your car. You will find that you are actually adding to the gas in your body (and your car) and that you will have more energy stored up there (available for your use) for the things you would rather spend it on, then had you taken the "EASY WAY OUT"!
GET OFF YOUR DUFF! The only one responsible for your physical condition is YOU! You have got to walk in order to be fit! If there are other things that you should do in order to be physically fit -- DO THEM! IF you are unable to walk, there are other things you can do to get a cardiovascular workout. I know of a man in my neighborhood who is in a wheelchair, and he puts me to shame in the amount of exercise he gets! He takes his wheelchair, or sometimes a specially designed bicycle (one that lets him "peddle" with his arms) and he travels Miles and Miles EVERY WEEK! He is certainly more "Fit" than most of us who have the use of all our limbs. So what is your excuse?
One of the most important areas that you can work on is your ABDOMEN MUSCLES! Whether you are fit, or not, your abdomen muscles will DETERMINE TO A BIG DEGREE whether or not you have the STAMINA to hold-up to other things. Abdomen muscles have so much to do with the entire system of the body (lymph included) that I could probably write a whole page on the advantages of strengthening these muscles alone! If you suffer from a "Bad BACK", like I do, then you will find that by strengthening your abdomen muscles that much of the STRESS that your back muscles are currently trying to absorb will be offset by your abdomen and you WILL feel better. Suffice to say, that if the Abdomen Muscles are strong -- most of the other parts of the body will be strong. Do some sit-ups or some crunches -- or just FLEX your abdomen muscles several times a day (you can do this in the car, standing at the check-out line, or almost anywhere). The simple act of tightening and relaxing these muscles will actually strengthen them. That is not so hard is it?
"Walking" is your absolute best alternative to any of the exercise programs that you will find on the market in terms of a whole-body workout! It is simple, cheap, and can be done without any extra equipment -- all you need is a good pair of shoes! And I think that I can safely predict that there is coming a time, very soon, when we will all be forced to walk a great deal more than we currently do. If you are already walking now, those times will not be as hard on you when they come. When you walk, be sure to walk briskly and for at least 20-30 minutes at a time. This will get your pulse rate up to a level where you can realize the benefits of walking. Don't "STROLL". Walk like a "man with a plan". Swinging your arms can also help increase the cardiovascular effectiveness of your workout. Walk, don't run (I know that there are die-hard runners out there who will object to this advice, and if you enjoy running then keep running, but running is VERY HARD on the joints and can cause serious damage if it is not done correctly). Walking briskly, is very hard to do improperly and offers the most benefit for most people.
There are some VERY CHEAP things that you can invest in that can help you get a complete workout and feel your best. One of the best, and cheapest, is an "EXERCISE BALL". These are balls that are about the size of a very large beach ball but are designed to support your weight (be sure to check for the weight limit for the ball you purchase -- they have several models to support Most people's weight, but you need to be sure that you are getting the right one for you). DANNON makes an exercise ball (I have one of these) but there are other, equally good balls out there. You can get them almost anywhere, including Wal-Mart for about Twenty bucks! The great thing about the exercise ball is the absolutely incredible amount of different workouts that you can do with them. You can target specific groups of muscles (i.e. abdomen, thighs, chest, etc.) and it has the added advantage of helping increase coordination and balance. I highly recommend the ball. It doesn't take up the kind of space that a exercise bike or gym does but it can do just about as much!
Another one of my favorite Cheap things that you can use to relieve stress and that will strengthen your forearms is a simple tennis ball. You can squeeze this ball while you are on the phone, while you are sitting reading, or anytime you do not have to have both arms free to do something. If you adjust HOW you are squeezing the ball (i.e. with just one or two fingers or only your thumb, etc.) you can target specific muscles in your hands and forearms. You will be surprised how much fatigue you can relieve by simply squeezing a plain old tennis ball!
OK, I am going to start harping on Walking again. Start your day off walking. Walk around the block or through your favorite park. You will find that you will notice the smells around your neighborhood (perhaps the neighbors Lilac bush) or just the clean fresh morning air. Practice your breathing while you are walking -- see
. End your day by taking an evening walk. This is a good time to take your spouse out and talk about the events of each of your day's. It is an excellent time to bond and will leave both of you feeling more relaxed. A good evening walk will also help your sleep. You will be ready for bed and your mind will not be racing with all the thoughts that stress you out so much. WALK -- and see if you do not feel better! Listen, GOOD HEALTH is absolutely essential if you are ever going to be able to Enjoy The Spirit-Filled Life. And Walking is one of the things that can help you enjoy it!
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