I was all set with what I was going to blog about this week and then, just a moment ago, that all got flipped on its side after watching a short, yet powerful YouTube Video. I don’t often click on too, too many links that people post on Twitter, Linked In, and other such sites, but for some reason today I did. As an aside, do you ever hapt upon by seeming fluke or accident things in life that enrich and enliven you, and then wonder what you might have missed had you not done that thing that you don’t often do? And then ask… was it really a fluke? Or is this something I needed to see or hear or do for some significant reason? Anyway … I digress.
This YouTube video was definitely worth the time. It talks about the single best thing we can do for our health… and it’s really, really simple. What I think makes it most impactful is that it tells us what we can, or may want to do, as opposed to what we can’t, or should stop doing. Because really, which of us likes being told what not to do?
So Julia, what is it already??
It shouldn’t come as much of a shock, and most of us have heard it in some way or another before, but the single best thing we can do for our health is… exercise. that’s it. simple. straightforward. easy and doable. Just a little moderate exercise (think walking) for 20-30 minutes a day – c’est tout. AND you can even break that time up into a few10 minute chunks! Most of us know that this amount of regular exercise has huge health implications for ailments like heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, etcetera, etcetera (probably not new news). BUT it can also have a HUGE impact on decreasing and treating DEPRESSION!! Really truly. Actually, I was at a conference awhile ago and one of the presenters spoke about recent studies showing that jogging can be as effective as pharmaceutical anti-depressants for treating depression.
“Can you limit your sitting and sleeping to just 23 and a ½ hours a day?”
Watch the video. It’s really well done and shares some pretty interesting information in a very captivating way.
Here’s my take on New Years Resolutions. If you’ve been reading my blog regularly you can probably guess my opinion about this time of year’s most popular topic of conversation… Not a fan.
Not because I think replacing bad habits with good ones is a terrible idea, but because of the way we tend to go about making our newly resolved metamorphoses. In essence, making grandiose and dramatic changes in a short amount of time is rarely effective… at least when it comes to long term sustainability. Believe it or not, human beings are extremely adaptable and we tend to do our best adapting when neither too little nor too much discomfort is involved in that which we are attempting to adapt to. For example, a popular NYR (New Years Resolution) is to exercise and get in shape. Now, if the entirety of your current exercise regime entails walking to the freezer for a second helping of ice cream, resolving to do hour long workouts at the gym 5 days per week will probably work well… for the first few days… actually they say NYR’s like these last an average of 6 days. The problem with going from 0 to 100 overnight is that it pushes us into too much discomfort. It’s too hard. It takes just too much effort and will power, and frankly, we are REALLY good at talking ourselves out of things that are too far beyond our comfort level. Like I said, most of us can handle and can talk ourselves into a little discomfort, but try to do too much too soon and that other little talk me out of it voice will almost always win out.
In contrast, and perhaps this is not very intuitive, but if we want to make major changes then we need to start small – small enough to be realistically manageable, but big enough to be at least a little bit challenging – we do still need something to be proud of. For above said example, a more realistic goal would be to start by doing a 10 minute walk (think once around 2 blocks) three times per week after work or after supper, or whenever. It’s a myth to think that you need to go big or go home. ANYTHING more than the status quo makes a difference. If we start incorporating things into or taking things out of our lives that are realistic and sustainable over the long term, they will be just that: Sustainable. And here on the West Coast, we seem to like that word a lot. It’s all the rage.