Exercise. One of the few words out there strikes up a love/hate relationship for most individuals. Some people love to exercise and some people hate it. Or, if you are like me, it really is a mixture of both. I have noticed over the years that my opinion of exercise has evolved. When I was a teenager and in my twenties, exercise was not done for health reasons. For me, it was purely for vain reasons. I wanted to look cute in that bikini every summer! Now that I am in my forties, my perspective has shifted, as I am sure it does for most people. Do I still exercise for vain reasons? Absolutely!! Just because I am in my mid-forties, does not mean I do not care how I look. I still care how I look in that bathing suit or cute pair of jeans or shorts. However, exercise for me now is much more. It helps me care for my body not only physically, but mentally as well.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20.
Y’all, let me tell you. When you take time to exercise, even it is just 20-30 minutes a day, it will make the biggest difference. Even if you don’t notice a huge transformation physically(which you should), but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually you will be changed. There is enough outstanding evidence out there of the importance of exercise for your health, and you will also find research of the importance of it for your mental health as well. In both aspects, especially as you age exercise should be an essential part of your life.
I think the older we get the busier we get. Once you have a spouse, a job, kids, errands, extracurricular activities, the time for exercise seems to diminish. This is why making exercise a priority is so important. When we put it up there on the list of things that have to be done for the day, then we will more than likely do it. It may mean that our schedules have to be navigated in order to incorporate exercise in. Whatever it takes, it needs to fit in. Don’t let excuses enter in. Be strong, be committed, make time for you.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women over the age 50, and as we age and estrogen levels decline, the higher we are at risk for cardiovascular disease. A steady workout routine of combining both cardio and strength training will help lower a woman’s risk of heart disease. Lately, my favorite go to workout has been my beloved Peloton bike combined with weight training. Yes, I know the Peloton bike is an expensive piece of exercise equipment, but it has been totally worth every penny spent. It challenges me in ways that I never expected, and by far is the best cardio workout I have ever done in my life. It is what I like to call, good stuff!! If you can purchase one or hope to in the future, I encourage each of you to take the leap and do it!! You will not be disappointed. Along with the bike, you can also download the Peloton app, which includes access to Peloton users of numerous other exercises such as cardio, strength training, yoga, and more. I love it and honestly, cannot live without it.
Along with the cardio, I also try to incorporate strength training into my normal exercise routine. I do this by doing typically a 20-30 minute cardio session, then a weight training session for about 30 minutes. Each day I try focus on different areas of the body, for example, one day will be leg day, one day will be arms, etc. I do this combination of exercises 3-4 times a week then the other 2-3 days I will include a more low impact regimen, this may include yoga, pilates, walking, dancing, or anything that is more low intensity. Then I rest typically 1-2 days week where I allow my body a break. This routine works well for me and if I am in a hurry I can usually cut the time to even about 40 minutes. Yes, that is all it takes, 40 minutes to an hour of your day to do something for you. To not only care for your body physically, but mentally to be stronger as well.
I am blessed to have a small gym in our home. We saved money for months and decided one year for Christmas, that instead of other gifts we would make a room in our basement into our very own gym. My older daughters are very much into fitness, and my younger two have started training for their sports teams, soccer and cheer, so it was a win for all of us to have the gym. We all use it and we have saved a ton of money in gym membership fees. The best thing about it, it is open and there anytime I want to use it!! It has made a huge difference in my fitness journey. I no longer dread finding the time to go the gym, but instead I have the opportunity to exercise when I want to. Yes, I understand a lot of people may not have the space or money for an in-home gym. I totally understand. I will tell you it was a huge sacrifice on my whole family’s part to get one. However, like the Peloton bike, it was a sacrifice that was well worth it for all of us.
You don’t have to have a Peloton bike or home gym. Get some dumbbells or resistance bands for strength training, go for ride outdoors on your bike, or go for walk. The only thing that you truly have to have, is commitment. A commitment to yourself, that everyday you are going to get moving in some way. That you will become stronger both physically and mentally. Yes, your mind and body will play tricks on you and some days you just will not have the heart to exercise. You know what? That is ok. We all have those days and it is normal. However, make sure the next day you get up stronger and decide that today you will be better than yesterday. Today is your day to love yourself from the inside and out. Give yourself a healthy heart, healthy mind, and strong bones and watch the quality of your life soar. Be strong, be courageous, be fit, and just fee good about being you.
I pray each of you are healthy and strong today. I also pray each of you are covered in many blessings today.