Stomach ache, burning eyes, rush of adrenalin, slumped shoulders, ridges across the fingernails, puffy legs, too much weight around the middle - our body keeps giving us cues to get fitter, but we keep ignoring it. Physical exercise reduces stress, sharpens your mind, improves your mood and sex life, and helps you sleep better. Start listening to your body, get fit and watch your life fall into place once again.
How did you interpret the title of this article when you first read it? Did you think about what your sagging middle or 6-pack abs might say to other people? “He is a couch potato” or “She is a fitness fanatic”. Were you thinking about what you “hear” from your reflection in the mirror? “I am getting old” or “You look hot today!”
Did You Think About The Signals Your Body Tries To Give You?
A stomach ache to let you know your Large Everything-On-It-Pizza with Extra Cheese may not have been the best choice for last night’s dinner? Burning eyes to tell you to get off the computer and get into bed? A rush of adrenalin to warn you to avoid that dark alleyway?
Were you thinking of your body type and what that announces about you? Tiny says delicate, big says powerful. Shapely says sexy, skinny says nerdy. Slumped shoulders means weak. Broad shoulders means confident.
How about what your body says to your physician or healer? “Ridges across the fingernails, maybe diabetes” or “Puffy legs, looks like water retention” or “Too much weight around the middle, might be heart risk”.
Do you look at your body and think it says something about your character? “If I had any willpower, I would have lost that 20 pounds” or “I have built the physique I want and clearly have my life under control!”
Whatever your answer was, it indicates something about your relationship to your body. Several years ago, here is what my body said to me, “Matt, you are not really walking your talk. Based on how you treat your physical body, you are not really living the totally empowered life you are telling others is possible”.
And I did that for years, knowing full well about all of the research proving that exercise and physical health are crucial to your mental/emotional well-being.
My body tried to warn me that I was off-base and unaligned. It would allow me to run intensive weekend trainings on little sleep and junk food, then it would crash and burn for literally a week afterwards.
It let me consistently burn the midnight oil to complete my PhD, but signaled it’s protest by having my brain run at slug-speed as I tried to write or study, making everything harder than I knew it could be. I was overweight and out of shape. Still, I ignored it.
I am glad that I finally got the message. So for several years now, I have been consistent with a workout routine and nutrition program that has served me well. I call it ‘Empowerment Fit‘ and it has become integrated into my daily life.
I can now run a week-long intensive training and feel energetic and relaxed afterwards. When I sit down to write or create new programs for my students, I am much more productive and creative than I was years ago. Decisions come more easily and upsets are less upsetting.
Being aligned with my own physical health has allowed me to be more fully aligned in all of the other areas of my life. How? We all know (or should know by now!) the physical health benefits of physical exercise. But what about it’s other effects?
4 Benefits Of Regular Physical Activity
1. Physical Exercise Improves Your Mood
Research has proven what Dr. Paul Dudley White said many years ago, “A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy, but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world”.
Studies on depression and anxiety all indicate that a regular exercise program is as effective in avoiding and relieving symptoms of depression or stress as popular drug interventions.
2. A Good Workout Can Sharpen Your Mind
Studies have shown how exercise can improve everything from academic performance to problem-solving skills to memory.
3. A Fitness Regimen Will Improve Your Sex Life
A Harvard University study looked at 160 male and female swimmers in their 40s and 60s and determined that “regular physical activity was associated with more frequency and enjoyment of sex”. In fact the “swimmers in their 60s actually reported sex lives comparable to those in their 40s”.
4. Exercise Can Help You Sleep Better
It seems like I am running into more and more people who complain that they have insomnia! Apparently about 35 to 40% of all US adults have problems falling asleep or with daytime sleepiness.
The journal Mental Health and Physical Activity reported a national study of more than 2,600 men and women, aged 18-85. The study concluded that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week translated into a 65% improvement in sleep quality. The active group also reported feeling less sleepy during the day, than those who were less physically active.
I am sure there are many other benefits I have not covered. But if a good exercise routine only makes you happier, sharper mentally, more productive and creative, gives you better sleep and improves your sex life, maybe it’s time to listen to what your body is saying about you and get active!
“Believe it or not, your body has nothing but unconditional love for you. The proof? Without any effort on your part, your heart is beating, your lungs are breathing, and the rhythm of life is graciously flowing through you every second of every day, unconditionally”. – Elaine Moran