My Commitment To Exercise

Working out on gym equipment

When Exercise Doesn’t Come Naturally

Being immersed in the world of caregiving as a consultant I know the importance of self-care.  I also know how easy it is to prioritize tasks and responsibilities other than self-care because of energy levels, demands on our time, etc.

Fortunately, I have a strong will and great self-discipline to exercise. I know that by keeping my body as active and as agile as possible there are many benefits to my overall health. But for caregivers even with the best intentions and strong self-discipline at times self-care in the form of regimented exercise just doesn’t happen. I say regimented exercise; but there is an option for incorporating micro bouts of exercise into each day.

Healthy Choices

I’d like to introduce you to a voice I now hear that reminds me of the benefits of exercise – an Island Treasures podcast guest, Sandra Strauss.  Sandra shared about vibrant health destinies in “A Caregiver’s Journey Into Brain Inflammation: A Wake-up Call For Us All!”. I read her book “A Toxic Brain: Revelations from a Health Journey” that indeed added urgency to the wake-up call encouraging readers to make healthy choices for those things we can control – such as diet and exercise.

Knowing I can be proactive to positively impact my long-term health, makes me say “bring on the exercise, the fish oil, and hopefully a good night sleep!”

I learned a long time ago, when I adopted a lifestyle which included regular exercise, that to make it happen I must exercise first thing in the morning.  Then I can get on with the rest of my day – ready for whatever the day may bring.  I am truly committed to this routine – so much so that when I was working regular day shifts in my government jobs, I would get up at 5:00 a.m. to exercise.  Fortunately, my schedule allows for a more leisurely start to my day now that I’m older.

Hiring A Professional

Working out on a leg press machine

For a season, however, I did break from my preferred regimen. I had hired a personal trainer and attended the gym where she worked.  My exercise routine had become somewhat stale. I felt it was time to have a check-up with a professional to ensure that I was doing my exercises correctly. I needed to spice up my routines with more variety.  The personal trainer offered even more than I was asking.  With her expertise she helped me perfect my form. She identified changes I needed to make, which decreased the risk of injury.  She helped me minimize the time I spent on redundant exercises whilst maximizing results.  She also shared nutritional tips and encouragement as she helped me finetune my wellness goals and improve my overall wellbeing.  Talk about a win! 

From this great investment I was equipped with new routines and reassurance that my form was correct. With renewed confidence I returned to my pre-work exercise back at home.

So often we are reluctant to accept outside or professional help. We keep plodding along doing things the way we always have or neglecting them completely… which may be causing our bodies harm. Then we accept that there may be a better way. A more effective way.  A more efficient way.  With a few tweaks, tips, words of encouragement and accountability we set ourselves up for a win – a better outcome.  This applies to caregiving as well as exercise.

Health Benefits of Exercise

There are so many benefits from regular exercise. Benefits that effect our physical, mental, and long-term health. Realistically when caregiving we may feel this isn’t attainable.  Yet, perhaps we can manage micro bouts of exercise. We can incorporate creative movement into each day such as dancing in the kitchen, doing squats or push-ups, taking the stairs, and walking around.  

As we consider the benefits of adopting a lifestyle that includes fitness here are guidelines suggested by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 5 days a week – such as brisk walks. 2 days a week of muscle-strengthening exercises, as well as balance exercises totaling at least 150 minutes per week. 

Exercise does not have to be overwhelming or intimidating. It does need to be viewed as a friend not a foe; and the CDC reminds us “some physical activity is better than none at all.”  For me, exercise still isn’t easy – but it has become a healthy habit as I strive towards my own vibrant health destiny.    

Please follow and like us:

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Tracy Crump

    What great advice, Alison. Self-care is so important. I lived for my walks around the lake when we took care of my MIL, not only for the exercise but for the fresh air and connection with God’s creation.

  2. Alison van Schie

    Thank you for your insightful comment Tracy!

Leave a Reply