An Exercise in Vitality

What’s one of the top 10 ways to reduce stress? Exercise.

One of the top 10 ways to relieve anxiety? Exercise.

Promote vitality? Exercise.

Relieve depression? Build self-esteem? Improve self-image and confidence? Increase stamina, strength, flexibility, stability and dexterity? Reduce tension? Improve mental sharpness and alertness? Strengthen immunity? Reduce health risks? Lose weight? Improve sleep?

Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.

An Exercise in Vitality

With a list like this, one might ask if there is any aspect of human life that isn’t helped by regular exercise. Not according to physical and mental health experts. Anyone and everyone who is concerned with health and well-being agrees: physical activity is a vital component for optimum physical and emotional health. Regular exercise is the key to increasing the quality of life. Being active improves body, mind, heart and soul.

Amazing as it may seem, 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week produces far greater benefits than you’d expect out of investing a mere 60 out of 10,080 total minutes of living per week. The typical return on that less than 0.6% investment of your time yields returns far greater than you’d imagine.

Yet, a quarter of Americans get absolutely no exercise and nearly two-thirds get less than the recommended minimum of 30 minutes several times a week. Fewer than 15 percent comply with the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations for adult fitness.

If Exercise Is So Good For Us,
Why Don’t We Do It?

No Time: That’s the reason most people offer when asked why they don’t exercise. And it’s true; most of our lives are busier than ever before. But the fact is, when something is important, when we are committed, when we really want something, we find the time for it. Because time is not a scarce resource.

That’s right: time is NOT scarce. We have all the time we need for the things that matter. Our sole responsibility in each moment is to discern, using intuition and reason, what matters most right now, to focus and to follow through. According to noted psychologist, Abraham Maslow,

“If our true nature is permitted to guide our life, we grow healthy, fruitful, and happy … [Yet] ninety-eight percent of us die before we taste the nectar of our magnificence.”

If we look beneath the easy and ready excuse of time scarcity, we find more complex reasons why people won’t start or stick with even a reasonable, regular exercise routine.

Impatience: People want to get in great shape RIGHT NOW! Never mind that it took 5, 10 or 20 years to get into the shape they’re in.

Unrealistic Expectations: Looking for the “perfect body” is a guaranteed set up for failure.

Denial: Many people are in denial that they might have health problems or suffer a debilitating disease.

Intimidation: The idea of failure, looking foolish or being a beginner intimidates many people into never starting an exercise program.

Painful Memories: Humiliating and abusive past experiences or old feelings of inadequacy can fuel resistance to exercising.

Fear of Rejection: If your friends and family tend to be out-of-shape, you might fear being shunned by them if you become more fit.

Depression: Years ago when my mental and physical health were at an all-time low and my primary care physician was abusing me yet again concerning my lack of health and fitness, I SCREAMED back, “Trust me, Doc, when you’ve sunk so low that your only hope is an early death, you invest little concern over leaving a good-looking corpse.”

Physical exercise is essential to good physical and emotional health and a sense of wellbeing. If any of these reasons lay beneath the surface of your “not enough time” excuse, consider these suggestions:

  • Start slowly.
  • Enroll a buddy.
  • Find an activity you like.
  • Enjoy a fun distraction (audiobooks, TV, movies, music) while exercising.
  • Go for progress, not perfection.
  • Realize that it may hurt before it feels good.
  • Remember healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Don’t give up. If you miss a day, begin again the next day.
  • Be patient. Substantive, substantial change takes time.
  • Congratulate yourself on your hard work and follow-through.
  • Ask for help if you need it.

You don’t have to train as a triathlete for exercise to make a difference. Specialists say that short bursts of exercise can be effective, too. Regular bouts of 10 to 15 minutes of aerobic “sparks,” such as dancing, an early morning walk or a midday office stair climb, combined with a few strengthening exercises and stretching routines can have measurable physical, mental and emotional impact.

Though you may not lose a lot of weight or become ready to compete in 10K races with these minimum activity levels, you can improve your overall health and start feeling more invigorated. Parking your car at the far end of the lot and walking to the mall, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, dancing through your housework—every little bit helps!

Author’s content adapted under license, © 2008 Claire Communications


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What clients say about
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“I knew Deborah before she became a Professional Life Coach. I’ve been amazed at how she has changed her life. When I decided it was time to begin making decisions about the next phase of my life, I knew immediately that Deborah was the person I wanted to work with. Her personal and professional experiences help her guide clients through coaching in a way that is individualized and delightfully eye-opening. Her warmth and sensitivity are immediately apparent, even over the phone. With gentle encouragement and permission, she will guide you through an examination of your life, including difficult experiences. She will help you gain insight from your past choices and then explore possibilities for moving forward in less encumbered ways. When you work with Deborah, your life will take on new meaning and your potential will be limitless!” Chris

“The work I did with Deborah continues to change my life. While I have learned many valuable lessons from her, the greatest was the deep insight that is available to me when I listen to and learn from my own inner wisdom. Her intuition, discernment and encouragement have taught me to trust my own intuition—creating new paths and possibilities for my life. One of Deborah’s great gifts is helping others respect and connect with their inner guidance and through that connection, to form a deeper, more meaningful bond with the collective wisdom and energy of all.” Ryan

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What readers say about
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“With the same energy and determination she applied in the professional world, Deborah has taken her considerable expertise in human potential and has now set her sights on the largest co-op in the world, humanity. ‘Choose Your Energy, Change Your Life!’ tackles what I believe are the most important questions we each must ask: who am I, where did I come from, why am I here, and what’s love got to do with it (cue Tina Turner)? These are not trivial or philosophical questions for the answers change what we do, why we do it, who and what we love. I am grateful for the opportunity to walk with Deborah on this critical journey.” JD Messenger, Award Winning Author of “11 Days in May: The Conversation That Will Change Your Life”

“To me the great thing about Deborah’s book is how ‘accessible’ she makes the ideas. The Oxygen Mask is probably the single best example. As with so many of the ideas in the book, she explains the principle in such a simple way that it’s got universal application to virtually any reader. I can imagine people having multiple moments of ‘Oh….I get it!’ throughout the book. The stories from her own life as well as stories of her clients’ experiences become stories about all of us—stories about which the reader will think, ‘I am living my own version of this.’ Well done—bravo!” Joe Calloway, Author of “Be The Best At What Matters Most”

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About djwlifecoach

I am retired from 40+ years of helping individuals and teams build lives and organizations they love. One of the great joys of my retirement from professional practice is having greater bandwidth to donate my professional and creative talents to support and promote animal and social welfare charities. During my 30 years as an organization transformation consultant, I served as a senior partner in four of the world’s largest, most prestigious global professional services firms. In 2005, I took a five-year sabbatical to find healing and peace because non-stop work had taken its toll. My recovery from burnout led to finding my purpose guiding others on their journeys. As a board-certified coach, author, consultant, radio host, Reiki Master and EFT/tapping practitioner, I share hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. 111419 DJW Sid CH Pet Corner Photo ShootI help clients achieve rapid, extraordinary, sustainable results by connecting who they are with what they do, a connection often lost through stress and the sheer busy-ness of daily life. Courageous self-awareness and unconditional self-love lead to honest choices based on priorities that nurture you and those around you on a journey to wholeness. Decades in coaching, consulting, change management, organization development, human resources and mixed media artistic expression honed my business sense, professionalism, creativity, intuition, leadership and communication skills. The result? Practical tools that help you become more insightful, creative, committed, productive and fulfilled. Even the most dedicated and hard-working individuals can shift from frustration to a sense of futility when their values, passion, work, and lives become disconnected. One of the problems with not taking care of our health is that the effects of ignoring it are often slow to show up. We continue to juggle family responsibilities, work and finances until we lose ourselves, waking up one day 50 pounds heavier in body and soul—no good to ourselves or anyone else. I love working with people who are ready to take life-changing action to make their dreams a reality. At each moment, you have inside you all the wisdom you seek to choose your life and your way of showing up. Limiting thoughts, beliefs and feelings can block you from moving forward. An absence of love and concern for yourself can result in negative head talk that holds you back with discouraging messages about who you are and what you can do. By listening and caring deeply, I guide you in connecting with your own inner wisdom. We identify the way you’d like to live. We determine what’s blocking you and release you from the hold those blocks have over you—unleashing the positive energy that will fuel you forward. Together we develop a plan to move you closer to your heart’s desire. My books, blog, radio show and signature coaching programs help individuals and organizations harness the transformative energy of love to turn unexplored possibilities into fulfilling realities and step into their greatness. What’s love got to do with it? Everything! My book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life! (Hay House/ Balboa Press 2013) shares my story and the stories of 10 of my clients along with my signature Discovery Framework. For fun, I love reading, sewing, knitting, yin yoga, afternoon tea, opera and movies. I live in Williamsburg, Virginia with my spouse, Wilson Abney, and the cat who runs our life, Maisy Jane.
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1 Response to An Exercise in Vitality

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