By: Kae Tritle, RN Wellness Coordinator
Exercise! Most of us still cringe at the prospect of doing activities that involve running, jumping, sweating, huffing and puffing. Actually, our physical bodies are made for moving. As a one cartoon states:
TV Voice: “Next up on the news: something that is guaranteed to burn fat, tone muscles, beautify skin, improve memory, reduce stress, boost brain functioning, enhance your love life, reduce the risk of almost any disease, and make you look and feel years younger.”
TV Viewer: “YES!! YES!! I’ll take it!”
TV Voice: “It’s exercise.
First of all throw out the word exercise! Next think: Just Move It! Or in our family – “Get Your Walk Back!” Intentional physical body movement does the following:
Actually, our mental and emotional health reaps the most noticeable effects of body movement. Doing intentional body movement for 15-20 minutes a day clears our thinking and increases our positive emotions. You might say that a walk-a-day keeps the gloomies away. So, rather than cringing about doing body movement, look forward to physical activity as your mental and emotional recharge time; a time to take care of your inner-self.
Choose a physical activity that you enjoy. If you are trying to do something that feels like a chore, you won’t keep at it. Walking is the simplest and easiest. Start small—10 minutes out and 10 minutes back. But anything counts as long as you are actively moving your body; ball-room dancing, jazzercise, kick-boxing, yoga, Tai-Chi, walking, swimming, biking or any type of sports are all activities that work. Check out the programs at the local YMCA, Senior Citizens Center, community colleges, local schools, and community websites. You might be surprised at what is happening in places you didn’t expect. If there isn’t a group, start one! There is also a large variety of resources available on CD for you to use from libraries, discount stores or websites. Blues 365 on the Wellmark website also offers fitness center discounts for those persons whose health insurance is with Wellmark.
Determine if you like to do your activity with others (great accountability partners) or by yourself as part of your quiet-“me” time. Maybe your physical activity is a way to connect with your family. Look at what time of day works for you—early morning, a mid-day break, early or late evening. Be prepared to make adjustments since life and schedules change. Do you like to be outdoors? Don’t let Iowa’s changeable weather deter you, dress for the weather and get out in it.
The Conference Board of Pensions is encouraging our pastors to improve their physical activity by participating in the Virgin Pulse Healthmiles program. Physical activity is kept track of by using a digital pedometer or other digital activity tracker, such as a Fit-Bit. By uploading regularly and working towards small achievable goals, points and cash rewards are earned. Please check out information on the Wellness page of the conference website.
“I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God...I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain.” (Hab 3:19, The Message)
I invite you to take care of both your inner and outer self by regularly and intentionally scheduling time to move your body in whatever fashion that brings you joy.