Dana West, R.D.
Exercise is Nature’s Prozac – Get Some!
Monday was a very hectic and stressful day. By the time I left work I was worn out and brain fried. When I arrived home, what do you think I did? Laid down on the couch and turned on the TV to loose myself in the life of someone else? Would that have helped me?
Instead, I changed my clothes, went to the barn, got my clippers and branch cutters, and started trimming our overgrown bushes. Did I feel like doing this when I was so tired? No. But I understood the power of motion, it empowers the body and brain!
So the more important question to ask is, how did I feel when I finished? I felt GREAT! Full of energy, the stress was gone and I was ready to once again to tackle the world… or at least the pile of laundry!
That is the magic in motion! It is one of the keys to health and happiness; living life to its fullest. You can walk your way to health and into happiness and abundant life by getting up and tapping into the magic of motion! A balanced and well-planned activity program is one of the wisest investments you can make. It pays dividends: better quality, longer life! Staying physically active may just keep you healthier and stronger 8-10+ years longer than a sedentary person.
We are a couch-potato, TV/computer driven, air-conditioned, sedentary society. And quite frankly, it is killing us. Inactivity is a curse by which disease is given entrance. “If we can’t find time for exercise we will have to find time to be sick” (“The inner and outer joys of exercise.” Your Life and Health.)
If those who are sick would exercise their muscles daily, in outdoor work, engaging the brain, the bones and muscles, weakness and languor would disappear. Health would take the place of disease (the state of no longer be at ease), and strength the place of feebleness.
Sixty to seventy-five minutes of activity offsets the risks of 8 hours of sitting, according to the prestigious health journal, (The Lancet, July 27, 2016, online). According to HealthDay News, online, May 17, 2016, “A higher level of heart-lung fitness may reduce your risk for prediabe
tes or type 2 diabetes. One hour of exercise lowers cancer risk according to the National Cancer Institute. And also published July 27, 2016, poor fitness level is second only to smoking as a risk factor for premature death according to the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
Exercise is “Nature’s Prozac”! Exercise produces beta-endorphins, elevating the mood so you feel better, have less pain and less fatigue. We need to move to think!
Make Exercise FUN!
Exercise should not feel like a duty. Exercise should add to your life; do it because you love life! Sedentariness is a learned habit. We were made to MOVE! Just watch a baby. The frontal lobe of their brain does not tell them when it is or is not socially appropriate to move. We would all look pretty silly sitting in our board meetings wiggly like a baby. So God developed our frontal lobes to tell us when it is appropriate to move, and He expect us to use that ability! Just as the centurion, Hulda Crook, when asked if there were time she didn’t feel like exercising, said, “If the brain is on top, it should be in charge and tell the rest of the body what to do. And so that’s what I do, I exercise anyway” (Crooks H. conquering Life’s Mountains: A collection of writings. Redlands, CA: Quiet Hour). Ms. Crooks spent the first 60 years of her life in poor health. In her 60s she started exercising to treat her depression. Her story is amazing! The more she walked the better she felt. At 70 she stated, “I began exercising in earnest”. She climbed Mount Whitney in California 23 times, and set world athletic records for women over the age of 80. At 91 she climbed Mount Fuji in Japan and also the entire 212-mile John Muir Trial in the High Sierras. She died at 101.
What I find most impressive about Ms. Crooks is she turned her health around completely at the age of 60. And you can too! It is never too late to take charge of your health. Just like Ms. Crooks, you can climb more than mountains, you can climb your way out of poor health into the magic of motion, and a life of abundant health!
What is keeping you from starting a new you? Don’t let the Lazy Boy Couch rob you of your health and happiness. Get up, come to our diabetes and weight management support (every 4th Thursday of the month). We keep it Fun, Fresh and Focused!