The weight loss and stress relief “secret” most of us learned as children

Superhero child with boxing glovesWhen I was a child I was fortunate enough to have both parents and grandparents who were athletic as well as many ideal locations for expending the boundless energy every child seems to have. Pools, horses, trees to climb and tons of imagination kept me strong and healthy for many decades. And what’s more it was a great way to escape whatever unpleasantness I might perceive in the home. When tensions run high not many parents will say no to the kids going outside to ride bikes or otherwise get out of their hair.

But as importantly it taught me the lesson (one I admittedly had to relearn later) that if you think of it as fun and not exercise the health benefits just happen without you even considering it.

In navigating my adult life I often find myself buried in stressful situations and inundated with daily demands that can easily make me forget what is truly important. Me and likewise, you.

I am the A-type personality who lets stress affect me way down deep on a physical level. After long exposure to severe circumstances I’ve been known to develop dizzy spells, headaches and even mild speech impediments.

However, since I know it’s stress I turn to the one thing that for me always fixes it and that is exercise. Now, I’m also not the type who puts on my running shoes and hits the pavement for miles or hours on end. The secret for me is to incorporate into the situation the things I love most which are the outdoors and my dog. He and I go for long walks and search out as many new sights as we can find. Along the way we inevitably meet other people and dogs which give us additional opportunity to smile, encourage, praise and raise them up which makes us even happier.

For you it could be rollerblading, biking, canoeing or any other activity you find enjoyable and relaxing. The point is don’t think of it as “ugh, I’ve got to burn so many calories or walk so many miles or I’ll hate myself, feel guilty etc.” Think of it as your time to do what you enjoy and what you need. Learn a new skill or renew your love of an activity from your past.

Every one of us has someone who loves and depends on us. Maybe they are the obvious family and friends, or maybe they are the store or bank clerk whose day you brighten each time you walk in. All of us have reasons for being healthy and enjoying life that transcends far beyond looking good. We all can and do positively impact people around us every day.

So instead of badgering yourself to dig down and find motivation to do something you don’t like, instead dig down and find or remember the movements that come natural and enjoyable to you and maybe even grab a member of your support system to take with you.

All sorts of great things will be strengthened in the end!

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