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February 2013
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Exercise: How to prioritize an active lifestyle

The numbers speak for themselves…

  • 60% of Americans don’t exercise
  • 25% of Americans get no activity at all
  • 50% who start an exercise program quit in less than 6 months
  • 90% of all exercise equipment goes unused in less than  one year

The key to understanding exercise is to know it’s not about going to the gym and that you cannot exercise off bad nutrition.  Exercise, by itself, is not the solution to our nation’s obesity epidemic. It is just one tool in the healthy-living took kit.  While there are a host of benefits, such as musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health and improved brain function, our focus is on living an active lifestyle versus formal exercise or “working out.”

Benefits of regular exercise and an active lifestyle:

1. Helps to lose and control your weight

2. Strengthens your heart muscle and ultimately will lower your resting heart rate

3. Increases your lung capacity (volume)

4. Decreases your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke

5. Helps lower blood pressure

6. Helps lower cholesterol

7. Burns calories

8. Builds and strengthens bones

9. Improves sleep

10. Reduces stress

11. Improves self -esteem

12. Slows down the aging process!

 “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” - Plato

Exercise is not just a physical activity.  It is also a matter of values and perspective.  Do you treasure (and value) the muscles in your body?  Ancient wisdom states: “Whatever you treasure there your heart will be also” so if we treasure the muscles in our legs and arms we’ll use them because our heart will be into it.  If we don’t, we will lose our ability to use them over time due to the lack of use.  

Recent studies show without regular resistance training or cardiovascular exercise the average person loses one pound of muscle every year and replaces it with fat. This makes us more prone to injury and we burn fewer calories because muscle burns 50 times more calories than fat.  Therefore, it is in our best interest to retain the muscle we have and add to it for optimal health.

Answer the questions below to see if you T.R.E.A.S.U.R.E. an active lifestyle? 

Time – Do you value spending time being active?  Do you invest a minimum of 30 minutes every day into being more active and exercising to climb Extraordinary Health Mountain?

Resources – Do you dedicate a portion of your resources (money) to pursue a more active lifestyle and extraordinary health?  If we were to audit your checkbook and bank records, could you be convicted of investing in an active lifestyle?

Energy – Do you invest your energy into being active and climbing the mountain?

Abilities – How do you leverage your natural talents and abilities to climb the mountain daily?  Would you ever consider selling your arms and legs?  What price would you put on them?  You probably wouldn’t sell them cheap, right?  If your legs were worth ten million dollars, don’t you think you should leverage this asset and protect its value versus “sitting on it” and letting it decline in value?

Space – What you have in the space around you will dictate what you value most. Do you have tools and resources to help you become a better climber?  Books, magazines, websites, clothes, walking/running shoes, or other equipment to help you climb should occupy the spaces in your home.  Look at the common areas where you spend the most time.  Do these areas show signs of someone who values an active life?

Utterances – Do you talk about climbing the mountain more than you will speak about rafting the river?  Words have power and the more you talk about climbing the mountain the better your chances are you’ll spend time doing it.

Recreation – Do you see climbing the mountain as recreation or work?  If you believe rafting the river is a form of entertainment and you desire more recreation in your life, you’ll spend more time rafting than climbing.  If you find enjoyment in climbing, you’ll achieve your goals faster than you ever thought possible.

Eager – What are you the most eager to do?  Climbers wake up with a desire to conquer mountains.

Integrating your values into your daily schedule will precede your success in living a more active lifestyle. If you don’t focus on being more active and “climbing” each and every day you won’t achieve your goals.  

Remember, exercise is never a time management issue. It’s another value and priority issue. Will you value and prioritize getting in a little more activity this week and go beyond what’s usual, regular, and customary? If you do, you’ll see exceptional results to a marked extent in a very short period of time!

Start by putting in daily appointments on your calendar to be sure exercise is scheduled on your plan for the day.  Don’t start with something staggering or too aggressive like one to two hour workouts. Instead, for starters, focus on doing something for 10 to 15 minutes a day until it becomes a habit.  The first few minutes are the hardest part, but once you get started, you’ll feel good and typically you’ll find a few more minutes than you thought you had.

Prioritize Your Life with Time Blocking 

In an interruption-driven culture, it is too easy to let everyone else decide where your attention goes and how to spend each minute of your day. If you jump every time your phone rings, a new email arrives, a social network notification buzzes, or someone stops by to say hello, you're undermining your most important asset...TIME.

Being available is part of life, however, getting and staying healthy requires focus and attention for a specific period of time or it won't happen. Time blocking is a technique that sets the stage for that to happen. If you block out a specific time to devote to being more active during your normal life activities, you'll find your focus will lead you to success.

Take a look at your weekly calendar and review where you are spending your time.  Write in the different time blocks what is consuming those hours when you’re not sleeping and then look for the gaps in time or opportunities when you can be more active.

“7-F”Activities for Maximizing our Exercise:

Faith – Walk to church or park in the farthest parking spot, listen to an encouraging message or music while cleaning the house, working in the yard, or walking.  

Family – Schedule activities with the family around being active, playing games outdoors or indoors. 

Finances – By scheduling a specific time to manage your finances, you can free up time in your week for exercise.

Firm – Where can you get in a few extra steps, stairs, or other exercise activities while you’re working?

Fitness – Are you doing anything to get fit?  How could you increase, intensify, or enhance it?

Friends – When you spend time with friends, could you do more activities around being more active?  Go for a bike ride, play a sport or enjoy a hobby like gardening.  

Fun – What hobbies or recreational activities could you schedule into your life?

 

Write the “7-F” activities” you’d like to fill your ideal week.  Review this often and be more active!

Time

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Listed below are 12 Time Management Tips to help you get more done in less time so you can find the time to prioritize living a more active lifestyle.

1.MAKE A LIST - Last thing at night or first thing in morning. Making a list helps you organize priorities and keeps you on track and focused throughout the day.

2.FILE, RESPOND TO, OR TRASH MAIL AS YOU OPEN IT - Do not allow yourself to accumulate miles of piles - you'll just end up sorting through the same papers over and over again and waste valuable time.

3.ELIMINATE NEEDLESS INTERRUPTIONS - Close your office door (post a sign saying, "In conference" if you have to). Let your staff or voice mail record your messages and then return calls all at once during a specific time of day.

4.CONSOLIDATE ERRANDS - Make one shopping trip to go to the dry cleaner, drug store, barber, and grocery store… (instead of four trips). Organize your route to avoid backtracking. Keep an ongoing list of supplies that you need to eliminate repeat trips for forgotten items.

5.CLUMP SIMILAR TASKS TOGETHER AND DO THEM ALL AT ONCE - It is far more time efficient to make phone calls all at once, work on all correspondence, and open all mail, than it is to intermingle these tasks.

6.ORGANIZE LIVING AND WORK SPACES - Disorganized space is not just inefficient, it is psychologically exhausting. Pick one area to organize every day for a month. Start with the area that bothers you the most or, if disorganization doesn't seem to bother you, start where you spend the most time. If the very idea of organizing overwhelms you, hire a professional to do it for you.

7.INVEST IN THE PROPER TOOLS NEEDED TO GET YOUR JOB DONE MORE EFFECTIVELY - In the long run, it is far more costly to make do with outdated tools and ineffective equipment than to buy what you need to improve production.

8.MINIMIZE SCHMOOZING - Don't let co-workers or friends waste your time. Schmooze over lunch or during breaks or, better yet, invite them to talk over a walk.

9.START A GREETING CARD FILE AND GIFT CLOSET - Buy birthday, anniversary, get well, thank you, and congratulation cards and gifts and organize them according to occasion. This will save you dozens of trips during the year and assure you of always having cards on hand for emergencies.

10.UTILIZE DELIVERY AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICES - Ask yourself, “Will doing this cost me more in time than it would in money if someone else did it for me?’ If so, pay to have someone else do it and utilize your time more effectively.

11.AVOID PEOPLE WHO DRAIN YOU - It’s good to invest time in people, but there are certain individuals who practically suck the life right out of you. They are the kind of people who light up the room when they leave. Identify those individuals in your life and limit your exposure to them. 

12.LEARN TO SAY “NO” - You are not superhuman. There is a limit to your energy and ability to accomplish an endless list of tasks. Say “no” to low priority items. Use this phrase to get out of a challenging situation: “It seems like an exciting project and I would love to do it, but I have already committed to another project that is consuming all my free time. Thanks for thinking of me though.”