Exercise: It’s more than just the body

America has always had a love-hate relationship with exercise. It’s the dirty double-four-letter word we love to add to resolutions that fall short of goals and off of plans.

If you want to be fully engaged in life, exercise is the key to a whole, fully-rounded healthy lifestyle. And, it’s more than just your bicycle, your Insanity workout or another walk around the block.

You are more than just a warm body that needs a physical workout. Sure, that’s part of it, but believe it or not, just like other parts of your body, it’s crucial to get equal conditioning for every facet of your being. Body, soul, spirit and emotions. Let’s take a look at those four areas.

PHYSICAL. Yes, this is the one with which we are most familiar. We all know we need to move, preferably for 20-30 minutes each day. Doesn’t sound challenging, but less than a quarter of Americans get the recommended amount of physical exercise every week.

As my dad got up in years, he would remind me every time I saw him of the importance of moving. Even in his waning years, he would walk outside in the driveway and along with front sidewalk, just “to keep moving”. It wasn’t far by most standards, but it was significant for a man in his 80s.

We gave you some ways recently to jumpstart your health so you can start there. The key is to start.

SPIRITUAL. Don’t allow this area to become your weak link. A lack of spiritual activity will lead you down the road to hopelessness and despair. You need hope, you need a relationship and you need a baseline.

It’s like anything else, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. You may not be used to this type of exercise, so start with baby steps and pick up the pace as you grow.

  1. Read your Bible. A chapter a day is a great place to begin.
  2. Find a good devotion book. Most devotions are short and to the point, but generally provide a great way to start your day.
  3. Meditate. After you read, simply take some time to let the thoughts incubate.
  4. Talk with God. Notice I didn’t say pray. Sometimes, that’s a big word that scares people away, but talking with God creates a two-way conversation.

MENTAL. Yes, you need to exercise your mind! Just like anything else, we get in a rut. Experts tell us we use less than 10% of our brains. TEN PERCENT! What’s going on in the remaining 90%?

Our minds, just like muscles and bones in our body, need stimulation. We must “exercise” them in order to further growth. Most of us do exercise our brains, but only the same portions repeatedly. We need to challenge our minds for them to expand, and we must not limit them to the constraints of our finite knowledge.

Each day should be a new masterpiece in which we learn something new, discover something new or invent something new.

Learn more in Calisthenics for the Mind from my first book.

EMOTIONAL. Today more than ever, we need an emotional connection. In this coronavirus quarantine era, it’s even more difficult. Facebook and social media make it even more challenging since we don’t have to expose ourselves to communicate.

Do you feel emotionally unavailable or unable to connect emotionally? Are you afraid to try to cross the emotional divide with friends or family? Even a spouse? It’s one thing to have those surface conversations, it’s another to take a deep dive into your thoughts, dreams and, yes, your feelings.

This one is not as easy of a fix as the other three areas, but it’s one of the most essential and it requires your interaction with others. Best way to start is with someone you trust. Hopefully, that’s a spouse, other family member or close friend.

If you would like to get started, take this free assessment that will give you some help in revolutionizing your relationships.

Getting into a good health position is critical for your life. All four of the above areas require your attention, and they are intimately connected. In other words, if you neglect one region, it will affect the other. A bad emotional or mental state, for example, will inevitably affect your body in the long run.

If you’re already behind, don’t be overwhelmed. You can catch up. Start today with one lagging area and begin to work yourself into shape.

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