There are four components of Working it Out, Within. They are quieting the mind, healing the heart, strengthening the body, and listening to the soul. This article is about the third component, strengthening the body. This includes eating well, getting adequate rest, and the focus of this article, exercising. All of these three aspects are very important in order to have a strong and healthy body. By this I mean a body that can manage stress, illnesses, and provide you with the means to conduct your daily business without feeling overly fatigued and run down. Through this article I hope to provide a different perspective of the importance of exercising.

I know that for many of you, the idea of exercising is not exciting. Quite frankly, it just might be the last thing on your long list of things to do each day. Maybe it is not on your list at all. For many of you, with all the responsibilities you do have, exercising might appear to be the least important. I am here to say, this could not be farther from the truth.

I see exercise as being something we all must do on a regular basis, period. It isn’t just that exercising is healthy for us; it is that not exercising is down right unhealthy! We are animals, we are meant to move. But exercising isn’t just about our physical fitness it is about our mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness as well.

Most everyone knows about the physical benefits of exercising. Many people tell themselves they know they “should?exercise for health reasons. However, even with this knowledge it is estimated that about 80% of adults do not exercise on a regular basis. There are various explanations for why this is. But no one is quite sure why some people are able to adhere to an exercise program and others are not.

I believe that such a large percentage of adults do not exercise on a regular basis because they do not put themselves at the top of their priority list. They might have a spouse, partner, children, parents, friends, career, or other activities that take up so much of their time it seems virtually impossible for them to fit exercising in on a regular basis. In my opinion, however, it basically comes down to the question of do you respect yourself enough to take care of yourself? If so, you must create a life that reflects that respect. It is about acknowledging the fact that exercising really isn’t a choice. It is something that everyone must do on a regular basis in order to be healthy and feel good about who they are. No one is exempt from this. It is a lot like brushing your teeth or bathing. You can live for a long time without any of these things. However, the longer you do not engage in these activities the more your quality of life will diminish. You will also! begin to feel bad physically, which will then affect you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. If you continue long enough without these things, your health will eventually begin to suffer. Just as your teeth will start to decay without brushing, your body will begin to decay if you do not exercise.

The first step is to acknowledge responsibility for your own body. Your quality of life is up to you and no one else. If you do not treat yourself respectably, why would anyone else? The better you treat yourself, the better others will treat you. This is the law of attraction. What you attract to yourself, and how you allow others to treat you, is in direct correlation to how you treat yourself. People who exercise on a regular basis respect their bodies, they respect their own needs and wishes, and they understand that if they don’t have a physical body, they won’t have much of anything else.

The second step is to realize that while you might have other obligations to people in your life, the most important person by far is you. I am not saying to abandon those who depend on you, but if you do not take care of yourself first, you will not be able to give the best of yourself to others. By taking care of yourself and exercising on a regular basis, you will have a reserve of time, energy and love. With these reserves in place your relationships with those you care for will energize you. However, if you are running on empty all the time, constantly trying to catch up, and just getting by on fumes, these same relationships will completely drain you. They will leave you feeling fatigued, wasted, and empty.

The third step is to prioritize. Individuals who exercise regularly are just as busy as those who don’t exercise. However, they prioritize and schedule their lives better. They set their exercising time as a priority for the day, and schedule things around it, and not visa versa. If you see your health as being important, you recognize that you must exercise, and you adjust your life accordingly. I am not saying it is easy, but it is that simple. If it is important enough you will figure out a way to do it.

There are those who do try to start an exercise program. But the statistics show us that 60% will quit in the first 3 months. There are several arguments for this. I believe that continuing with an exercise program is as much about the mind and soul as it is about the physical body. Physically, exercising is about decreasing your risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, stress, osteoporosis, and of course obesity.

It is my opinion, however, that there is too much emphasis placed on losing weight and being thin. While exercising will help you lose weight, in most cases, losing weight and keeping it off is usually more about what you eat and why you eat, then it is about exercising. Examining, analyzing, and understanding the emotional issues that drive you to eat is what will eventually help you solve your weight problems. However, that is another topic to be addressed in another article. But suffice it to say that being healthy is the point to exercising, not being thin. There are plenty of thin people who are not in the least bit healthy.

I also do not believe that wanting to be thin will keep you interested in exercising long term. While wanting to look good on the beach for summer vacation might get you motivated to start working out, it will not sustain you in the long run to keep exercising. Therefore, I believe you must learn to focus on other internal motivating factors to continue an exercise program.

Being healthy involves the entire body. Since we have already discussed what exercising does for you physically, let’s look at what it does for you emotionally. Exercising can decrease depression, relieve anxiety, and make you less irritable. Stress has a direct affect on your mood, and when stress hormones build up in your body they can become toxic, mentally and physically. Exercising helps to burn off these stress hormones. It will also increase your self-confidence, self-esteem, and over all, your self-respect. All of these things will empower you.

Not only is exercising a great tool for emotional wellness, it is also great for mental wellness. Exercising can connect you to the present moment. When most people exercise they try to find distractions so that their work out will go by quicker. I believe it is actually more effective to be more aware while you exercise. You can even use exercise as a type of meditation. In another article I talked about quieting the mind and learning how to focus on the breath coming in and out of your body because it connects you to the present. You can do the same thing while you exercise. Focusing on your breath will keep you focused on what you are doing while you are doing it. Your workouts will actually begin to go by more quickly because you become so involved in them. You will also feel more relaxed afterwards, less stressed, and the time will not seem to have been “wasted?because you weren’t getting something else done. You will begin to see how empowering it is to just “b! e?in the moment, instead of always having to “do? You will also be able to transfer this ability to other areas of your life as well.

Learning how to observe the fatigue in your body and how your muscles feel as you work out can be a great way to reconnect your mind with your body. This can even be a spiritual experience. When your mind is disconnected from your body you believe that whatever you do to your body, is just about the body. This is just not true. Your body is a magnificent machine, and it is fully connected to what your thoughts and emotions are. By paying attention to how your body feels, you will learn what your limits are, how far and hard to push yourself, and when to just listen and pay attention. Your body is very wise and it will send you signals to let you know when it is starting to feel ill or too tired. Knowing when to stop and rest is not only important when exercising, but it is important in your daily life as well. Many of us continue to push ourselves even when we get signals from our bodies alerting us to problems or even dangerous situations.

As the connection between your body, mind, heart, and spirit becomes more evident, you will then begin to see the connection you have with others around you. This connection and respect will then begin to shape how you see the rest of the world. All of this information about yourself will continue to guide you and help you grow and live your best life. Exercising can be a great tool for becoming stronger and healthier physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Author's Bio: 

Kim Eickhoff is a personal coach who helps people how to create
and live their best lives by living authentically and deliberately. For more information go to her website, Working it Out, Within, www.workingitoutwithin.com.