The main exercise we should do all be doing is really weight-bearing exercise. And even 20 min's does wonders for us. That's what I do, and then other days of the week I do yoga (often at home), run, hike, or whatever else I feel moved to.
The 3 kinds of exercise are Weight-Bearing, Cardio, and Stretching.
We want to be doing some kind of exercise at least 3-4 times a week, mainly to clear stress and negativity from our system. And walking is definitely included in exercise, in my opinion. Now I maintain a healthy body by simply doing:
a) a bodyweight work-out at home for about 30 min's, 3 times a week
b) stretching (basic yoga) every other day, for maybe 20 min's
c) lots of walking and hiking (I live in a town with lots of hills and not too much rain).
The work-outs are intense, and my body responds by tightening up. Then the yoga opens me up again, gets things more relaxed and limber. And the walking and hiking has more the effect of oxygenating my body, making me high from that, and creating a smooth flow of energy throughout of my body - walking and running are a lot more movement than working out.
This leaves me lots of time to make and eat healthy meals, which is actually the most important part of healthy living, meditating, and playing. Because - who wants to live their life in the gym? Not me!
Weight-Bearing Exercise, Stretching, and Cardio
So exercise really breaks down into three main categories:
1. Weight-Bearing Exercise - this is the what everyone is saying is the king of exercise. For a while everyone thought cardio was the bomb, but now we know that 'chronic cardio' doesn't have nearly the benefits of weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing exercise means you're really working your muscles. It could be yoga, body-weight exercises, or working out with weights. But however you do it, it doesn't have to take a long time. If 10 push-ups is all you can do, do 10 each day, and before you know it, you'll be doing 12 :-), and so on.
2. Stretching - even 5 min's of stretching can do wonders for how I feel. It can really take the edge off anxiety, and can liberate energy when I've been feeling tired. Especially if you do weight-bearing exercise, you will want to stretch out the next day.
3. Cardio - to my mind, cardio's main benefits are on the emotions, and the fact that is oxygenates the body. Oxygen is extremely good for us. It detoxifies the body, and brain. It turns on our cells - every one of them needs oxygen to live. And there is a lot more oxygen outside than inside the house. Also cardio tends to coordinate left and right body, which gets our brains (left and right brain), working together more. So it's a kind of mind-body exercise, too.
Also I want to suggest that all forms of exercise are really yogas, in a way. They are practices that require focus and attention to form, to get their fullest benefits.
Exercise can be meditation... a yoga that unites mind and body.
Here's a few more examples of the mind and body enhancing effects of exercise:
- Some of my best insights come while running or working out. I get totally absorbed in the activity, and - boom - clarity about some situation I've been working on lands in my mind.
- Dancing to over-come cocaine addiction: In "Spark: the Science of Exercise and the Brain", the author tells about a young man who successfully kicked his cocaine addiction. by playing a 'dancing' video game every day. He replaced on high with another.
- After a good work-out, I often sleep better, and have more energy over the next couple days. My body bounces back by quickening vitality, and I eat more.
- I have often ended anxiety by doing 10 minutes of yoga. Yoga is amazingly profound.
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