If it weren’t for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn’t get any exercise at all. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. Studies show that if you watch an average of six hours of television a day, you will take 5 years off your lifespan compared to someone who watches no television. In case you think six hours is a lot, remember that Americans watch an average of 5 hours television a day. It’s not a stretch. And television is not the only temptation to lead a sedentary lifestyle today, with computers and video games becoming so dominant.
So many of us resist exercise, taking Joan Rivers attitude,
I don’t exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.
The problem is that if you don’t make time for exercise, sooner or later you may have to find time to deal with illness. Effort now will bring benefits both now and later and save you medical bills and frustration.
Some days the closest we come to exercise is jumping to conclusions, spinning our wheels, side-stepping responsibility, running away from reality and generally pushing our luck with our most valuable possession, our health.
Thrive in 2012 by recommitting to a realistic and healthy exercise program. It will make your mind clearer and your energy flow more easily. If you already exercise, keep moving. If you don’t exercise, get moving. It’s important. It’s not going to be triathlons for all of us. For some of us, it will be a ten minute walk a day with the dog. Either way, your longevity and more important your quality of life, is at stake.
But there is another, even more significant reason, to care for your body. The needs of others! Charles Schulz once said,
Jogging is very beneficial. It’s good for your legs and your feet. It’s also very good for the ground. It makes it feel needed.
Caring for your body is a way of caring for others in multiple ways. Your body matters. This story makes the point perfectly. (read on for the story and more about your body as a gift)
My mother used to ask me what is the most important part of the body. Through the years I would take a guess at what I thought was the correct answer.
When I was younger, I thought sound was very important, so I said, “My ears, Mommy.”
She said, “No. Many people are deaf. But you keep thinking about it and I will ask you again soon.”
Several months passed before she asked me again. This time I told her, “Mommy, sight is very important to everybody, so it must be our eyes.”
She looked at me and told me, “You are learning fast, but the answer is not correct because there are many people who are blind.”
Stumped again, I continued my quest for knowledge. Then last year, my grandpa died. Everybody was hurt. Everybody was crying. Even my father cried. I remember that especially because it was only the second time I saw him cry. My Mom looked at me when it was our turn to say our final good-bye to Grandpa. She asked me, “Do you know the most important body part yet?”
She saw the confusion on my face and told me, “My dear, the most important body part is your shoulder.”
I asked, “Is it because it holds up my head?”
She replied, “No, it is because it can hold the head of a friend or a loved one when they cry. Everybody needs a shoulder to cry on sometime in life. I only hope that you have enough love and friends that you will always have a shoulder to cry on when you need it.”
Touch has healing power whether it’s a shoulder to cry on, a pat on the arm, a high five or a back rub. It creates connections and trust. It lowers blood pressure, strengthens the immune system and lessens anxiety.
Healing power passes from your body to another person. The most important reason to care for your body is to create the type of body that can, for years to come, provide healing for others. As researcher in the field of wellness and spirituality, Larry Dossey, wrote,
The power of love to change bodies is legendary, built into folklore, common sense, and everyday experience. Love moves the flesh, it pushes matter around. Throughout history, “tender loving care” has uniformly been recognized as a valuable element in healing.
This is part two in a series on thriving in your body. Part one describes the essence of wellness as a choice to claim NOW. Part three is about recognizing the essence of who you are, that liberates your body to be all it can be.
Be well. Live strong. Breathe deeply. And love deeply, beginning with yourself and stretching to include as many others as possible.