HABITS OF EXERCISE AND RECREATION
The restoration of body and mind to their most fit condition is needed on a daily basis. We’ve talked about the importance of food, meditation, rest and sleep. Exercise and recreation for the body and mind are just as important.
The person with a very strenuous, physically demanding job will benefit from additional mild exercise that uses different sets of muscles. This is important in preventing pain caused by over-developed muscles that contract too much, as in some kinds of back pain. Exercise that lengthens the back muscles and strengthens the abdominal muscles will help.
The person who sits most of the time may develop restless legs and benefit from daily walks, jogging on a smooth, resilient surface, or dancing to some favorite music. Bicycling and the treadmill help the legs and, if done long enough, the lungs. Swimming uses more calories and exercises more of the body but is not as accessible for some people.
Experts in exercise physiology have found that thirty (30) minutes each day for five days a week with the heart rate elevated for 15 to 20 minutes will improve one’s endurance and cardiac condition. The body seems to benefit from the two days off each week. To maintain that level of endurance, one must exercise with the heart rate elevated three days a week. The actual heart rate to be targeted and the types of exercise to include in your exercise program varies with your age, health, and exercise status. It is best to get individual assistance before you start a strenuous exercise program.
If we do not exercise every day as we think we should, we need not be discouraged or give up. Even a little exercise is beneficial and better than no exercise. One psychiatrist has written that in his treatment of people with depression, the patients who took up the habit of jogging progressed more quickly. He revised his treatment program to include exercise. The anti-depressant effect of exercise comes from chemical changes in the body and brain.
Whatever form of exercise you choose, you will feel more successful if it is tied into your daily routine at a regular time and place. If it is something you enjoy you will look forward to it and it will also serve as recreation. When all else fails, an old bike set in a frame for “stationary” biking, floor exercises, or dance routines while you watch your favorite TV program will help you feel more rested and relaxed.
The weather too bad to go outside? Web M.D. had three workout exercises you can do indoors at http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/the-no-gym-workout?ecd=wnl_hbn_122313&ctr=wnl-hbn-122313_ld-stry&mb=px%2fbj4bXjdSY%2f77zRrBriuHnVev1imbCbOQGYdTGKuE%3d (Accessed May 16, 2014)
Too tired to get up? Try “chair exercises” with your arms and legs while deep breathing. Not motivated enough to exercise by yourself? Ask a friend who enjoys the same activity to meet you at a specific time and place on a regular schedule.
If you feel too depressed to get up or go out to exercise or attend activities, you would be wise to get up and go anyway. “Take charge” of this part of your life and you will feel less helpless. You will feel better physically and mentally. And, as you see it, “your world” will be a better place.
Recreation is like a mini-vacation. You do something different from your routine, but plan it as part of your routine. It is not the same as exercise but may include exercise. It is for restoring peace, tranquility, and energy. It can be anything that you “look forward to” during the day.
Using food or alcohol exclusively as something to “look forward to” leads many people into a great deal of distress. Even exercise may be done in excess. Alcohol is notorious for getting you into a pattern of excess since it takes more alcohol as time goes on to get the same physical and mental-emotional response. Ruth Maxwell, in her book, “Booze Battle,” will alert you to symptoms of dependence and addiction that will startle you. You will want to engage in something that is satisfying does not lead to excess.
If we are too competitive, we cannot enjoy some types of recreation that pit one’s score or performance against others’ performance. There should be some enjoyment in recreation. If we are bored with our usual types of recreation we need to consider doing something different from time to time. Activities that involve other people reduce the chance of boredom and fill a need for social involvement.
Hobbies, crafts, and handwork that can be done by oneself are very useful in preventing loneliness and dissatisfaction with oneself. They also keep our hands and minds busy so that we are less inclined to overeat, smoke, drink excessively, or fall into negative thinking.
According to http://nccam.nih.gov/health/tips/smoking?nav=cd “Nearly 70 percent of adult smokers want to quit smoking, according to a national survey. Conventional quit-smoking treatments, including counseling and medication, can double or triple the chances that a smoker will kick the habit successfully. For more information on quitting smoking, visit http://www.smokefree.gov, the National Cancer Institute’s quit-smoking resource.”
As a mother of small children, I had neglected personal recreation for years. If was a great opportunity to be forced to take time to develop some of my creative talents.
When learning a craft or new skill, we may be rather hard on ourselves. We may be impatient and think we can’t do this or, at least, can’t do it well enough. If we are kind to ourselves and use our mistakes as stepping stones to improve our skills, rather than throwing stones at ourselves for our ineptness, we can create a great deal of happiness for ourselves and others. As you gain skill, you will gain enjoyment. It is worthwhile to keep at it.
I chuckled recently when I read somewhere a comment by Robert Capon, “If
it is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” Any new skill probably will be
done badly to begin with but may in the end become an enjoyable part of
our lives. Keep at it. As you exercise and recreate, you literally may re-create
yourself mentally, bodily and, with study and meditation, spiritually.
Here’s to Your Health!