I wrote Stress Will Kill You a while back. I was halfway through the Course on Stress from The Great Courses at that point. Now I have finished the class and wanted to share some very important concepts from the final lecture. They deal with exercise, its benefit and our attitude toward it.
The following two paragraphs are quoted from the course Guidebook:
“The first thing you can do is exercise. Exercise helps in all sorts of ways: it decreases your chance of cardiovascular disease, and that seems to protect against certain aspects of brain aging and cognitive decline. If your cerebrovascular system is not getting gummed up, you are going to have a brain that works better and that ages better. Exercise also stimulates neurogenesis and helps your neurons grow new processes and new connections. One qualifier to keep in mind is that if you overdo it, it can negatively impact your reproductive system.
“There are certain qualifiers that apply to exercise…. First, you cannot save your stress management for the weekend; it has got to be done virtually daily. Next, you need to take the time out for it. It needs to be something that is important enough to you that you are going to say no to all these stressors competing for your attention. In the realm of aerobic exercise, for example, most studies suggest that you need to do 20 to 30 minutes to begin to get the cardiovascular advantages, Last, you have got to like doing it. If a personal trainer is forcing you to exercise, you do not get anywhere near as much of the health benefits.”
Another aspect of the enjoyment concept quoted in the Unworkout comes from Cedric Bryant PhD. “The Number one reason people say they don’t get regular physical activity is lack of time, says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in San Diego. Yet, he adds, “we’ll find time to do what’s enjoyable.”
The Unworkout also suggested that you make play your workout. Remember begging your mother to let you stay outside five more minutes? Whatever you were doing — playing catch, jumping rope, or riding your bike — it was too much fun to quit. The key to fitting more activity into your life is rediscovering that joy of movement.
Regular readers know that I have found bicycling to be the perfect exercise. I hope you are able to find one that works as well for you. Lucky me. Turns out it really makes a difference.