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Why  Exercise?  Here's  Why

By Vance Larson

In my mid 30's I was diagnosed with some pretty severe health problems. I can recall the days that I was so run down and so sick, that my work days were shortened to about 3-4 hours a day. This made it tough for my clients because my best hours were from 10:00- 2:00. For that reason, most of my work had to be done from my home office.

During that time I would make it a point to go for a walk at 10:00 in the evening. This was extremely tough for me. As I struggled to make a mile, I wondered if I'd ever get my health back? Exercise and physical activity were always a huge part of my life. Now I spent the majority of my days in bed.

Around age 40 my wife really started to push me. Not in a way that was bad; but, in a way from inspiration. Slowly our walks became longer. I started to workout again in the mornings. While some days I could only manage 10 minutes. My thought process was 10 minutes beats 5. And given my health at that time, I was willing to take any little victory I could get.

Over the course of 3 decades working in mental health, I would often make lateral moves into the fitness industry as a consultant in health and wellness. Working with both local and national chains, I managed several weight loss programs. I knew how weight affected the individual both from a health and mental health standpoint. So, while I would focus on diet from a disease perspective, I would use exercise for overall wellness.

There is no doubt that we all can benefit from daily exercise. And you really do not need to invest in a lot of time to get results. Personally I strive for an hour a day 7 days a week. That's just feels right to me. When I finally was able to regain my health, I promised myself that I would do everything to preserve it. That said, you can see real results in as little as 20 minutes a day 3-4 times a week. What kind of results? Lets take a look at some of the benefits in regular exercise.

1. Reduce stress, depression and anxiety. Exercise has a direct effect on our brain chemistry. A good 30 minute walk or run should release those endorphins. When this happens, you'll feel less stress and increased energy.


2. Confidence does not come easily for most of us. How do we build it? Get moving. Exercise gets you feeling good. When you feel good, you tend to have a better self- image. Better self- image? Oh yeah. There's your confidence.

3. Slows down the aging process. More importantly the cognitive decline. Exercise will not stop this process completely. But, it will help slow it down. And the earlier you start to exercise, the better off you should be.

*Exercise is important at all stages of life. But for cognitive function, starting to exercise between the ages of 25-45 seem most important.

4. Can help control addiction. This can happen two- fold. First, as you exercise you brain releases dopamine {the feel good chemical.} For many in recovery this can be a good substitute. Secondly, exercise can give your life some sense of order, meaning that leads to self- worth. And as an added bonus, exercise that is built into your daily schedule can offer as a distraction for those cravings.

From time to time I hear someone argue that exercise is just another form of addiction. Well it can be. Just as food, porn, shopping and most anything else. But, ask yourself if you would rather be addicted to exercise or drugs? Be stronger than your excuses.

5. When the blood gets flowing we seem to become more creative. This especially happens when we exercise outdoors.

There are so many good reason to start exercising. Some of my biggest success with clients didn't come in the form of a mental health session. They came for a weight loss session. When a person has been diagnosed with several life threatening conditions and then they commit to a wellness process, that is a big success.

In my early 30's I received a call from a women who wanted to see me as a Hypnotherapist. However, when she arrived at my office and I was doing my intake on her, she went onto talk about how she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, breast cancer and several digestive disorders. I quickly thought to myself that my office manager gave me the wrong client file, and that she was there for end of life issues. Or to see the doctor that I worked alongside of. When I questioned her about what she was being seen for, she said without hesitation, I am here to lose 20 pounds so I look good in a bathing suit on vacation. Wow! I love it.

Over the next couple of weeks not only did we use hypnosis, but she was open to change. With some corrections to diet and adding some exercise, not only did she drop the weight, but her digestive problems faded away. I never did see her again after she left for vacation. I can't help but believe we added to the quality of life that she had before.

And just as I found out years later about the power of movement, there are no wonder drug to be found. But if there were, exercise would be one of them.
Now stop reading and get off the computer. Get yourself moving!