A Simple Remedy for the Economic Blues
In the wake of the frenetic holiday season coupled with all the anxiety over these uncertain economic times, it’s little wonder that many of us are feeling a little down. In fact, when you add in the cold weather and the short winter days, it’s a veritable perfect storm of discontent that is hitting many of us at a time when we can least afford to be anywhere but at the top of our game.
So in an effort to battle the economic and seasonal blues, I’d like to suggest a way that has been shown to not only lift your spirits, but might even make you smarter, more productive at your job, and may very well go a long way to help you to live a longer, more fruitful life.
Simply put: get some exercise.
Sure, we’ve all know well enough that exercise is good for our bodies, and that a lack of exercise has been implicated in a whole host of ailments, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity. But now there is a growing body of evidence that seems to indicate that what benefits the body also benefits the mind, not only in terms of our intelligence, but for our emotions and our productivity, as well.
Truth be told, people have known about the mind body connection since antiquity, with the Greeks promoting the importance of exercise almost as much as learning. Even you and I, in the deep recesses of our minds, have experience firsthand how refreshed and clear our minds feel after a good period of exertion.
Somehow, even in lieu of all that we know, we still have trouble getting some exercise. In certain instances, it’s gotten so bad that we can’t even get our of our car seats to buy cigarettes or donuts.
Maybe with the new year, it’s time to do change all that. The impetus lies with you, however, although it need not require a lot in terms of effort, time or money, and when you really get down to it, you can’t beat that.
1. Whenever possible, walk to where you’re going, or ride your bike. I know, it’s a no-brainer, but I grew up in a city (Los Angeles) where it was amazing what lengths people went to in order to avoid walking, even a quarter of a mile.
2. Keep it simple. The biggest deterrent to making the first step is getting too ambitious, and then nothing gets done. Make it as simple as putting on something comfortable and getting out the front door.
3. Eat healthy. The two go hand in hand, but also reinforce one another. Eating too much garbage will only motivate you to eat more garbage (Funny how that works). A healthy diet, on the other hand, will make it that much easier to get up and go.
4. Avoid drive-throughs. You usually find them at fast food joints, and even though the amount of exercise you might get is negligible, it might discourage you from even going entering in the first place.
5. Get an iPod. It doesn’t have to be an iPod, just something that personalizes your routine and makes it more enjoyable. Besides, it could motivate you if you feel guilty having made the investment.
6. Take the stairs. I know, another obvious one, but so hard to employ.
7. Choose to be active. When you have free time, get out and try to break a sweat rather than sitting around the house. Sure, we’re all tired people, but sitting around all day on the couch will only makes us more so
8. Form a group. There is strength in numbers, not only in motivating you, but in sharing your goals or at the very least, clarifying them. And let’s face it, camaraderie is fun.
9. Join your kids. If you’re a parent, join your children when they go outside. Not only is it a chance to spend some quality time with them, but as every parent knows, parenthood is the ultimate endurance sport.
10. Create a schedule. Organization can be an amazing means to an end, especially for disorganized people like myself.
11. Turn off the TV. Nothing saps your energy or motivation more than television. It’s just too darn easy, and once it’s on, it’s like a vacuum that sucks you in, making not only your body soft, but your mind, as well (for all you TV advocates, this is true even when you watch the Discovery Channel). I’ve generally found that most people who take that fateful plunge and stop watching TV don’t regret it.
In the end, getting more exercise will pay off in so many ways, but it is hard to appreciate this concept when you’re not actually doing it.
So just do it. Once you find a groove, you’ll want to do it more, but you just have to take that first step. Otherwise, nothing will change. Plus, when your confidence and self esteem get a boost, the benefits will cross over into all areas of your life, including your love life.
Whatever you do, dedicate yourself to getting more exercise as if your life depends on it, because the truth of the matter is, it does.