Let Exercise Set You Free

Jennifer Bonn

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We all have things that hold us back in some way, but bad health can hold us hostage. The more serious effects of poor health can limit one’s ability to work, reduce economic opportunity, inhibit educational attainment, and lead to medical debt and bankruptcy. It can diminish your ability to interact with family and participate in activities. Your quality of life can suffer. How much does bad health really affect our lives?

The National Library of Medicine lists seven vital conditions for good health. One of them lists the basic needs for health and safety as adequate air and water, nutritious food, routine physical activity, sufficient sleep, and routine healthcare. How many of us cannot say that we make sure we meet those basic requirements? One of the things we can do to improve our health is to make sure we are exercising enough. Here are a few reasons why exercise is important and possibly life-changing.

· Exercise can improve balance. When I injured my knee part of my physical therapy included balance exercises. My therapist told me how important exercise is to improve our balance to help us from falling and injuring ourselves.

· It increases bone density and decreases the risk of injury. I am going to do anything that keeps me healthy for longer.

· Exercise increases your energy. I hear people comment all the time that after they started exercising they felt better and had more energy to do activities with loved ones.

· Decreases negative effects of stress. Running has saved my mental health. Whenever I have a problem I lace up my sneakers and run. I can feel the stress falling off behind me.

· Exercise can help you sleep better. When you have less stress, and you feel better sleep will come easier.

· Exercise helps you connect your body and mind. I do my best thinking when I’m moving.

· Exercise offers opportunities to connect to your community. Join a gym or an exercise club. Go to local events. My friends and I go to a race almost every weekend, and it’s more about meeting new people and having breakfast after.

Starting an exercise program can seem overwhelming for many reasons. You have to make peace with the mental aspects before you can tackle the physical challenge. Realize that most people will want to support you no matter where you are in your health journey, and you may be an inspiration for someone who is thinking of starting her own journey. Also, know that no matter where you show up there will be other people at the same stage you are. Here are a few things that might make an exercise program easier.

· Ask for help from experts.

· See the why behind starting to exercise.

· Give yourself grace when you have a bad day.

· Keep it fun.

· Stay as consistent as possible.

· Make a motivational board with goals.

· Have a strong attitude.

Exercise has made a huge difference in my life. It has allowed me to be practically medication-free at 65, I feel amazing, and my blood pressure and pulse are always low because exercise allows me to work off any stress. Most of my friends are runners, and I met them at races, or through other runners. The exercise community is full of wonderful, encouraging people. I hope you will try exercise in whatever form suits you, and I hope it sets you free by improving both your mental and physical health.

It can’t hurt to make some simple changes to see what exercise can do to enhance your life.

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I am passionate about running, parenting, education, and self-help information. I enjoy writing articles that will offer readers the information needed to help them in some way. I recently retired from teaching French and Spanish for forty years. I run every day and have done all kinds of races from 5ks to ultra-marathons. I have three children and three grandchildren. I write for several magazines in my area, I am a contributor and in charge of the Pinterest board for a parenting magazine called Screamin Mamas, and I have a second book about to be released through Loving, Healing Press called 101 Tips to Ease Your Burdens.

Kennesaw, GA

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