In the midst of this crisis, many are having to stay at home while many others continue their normal work days, some of whom serve the people of this nation with vigor. My prayers go out to all suffering at the hands of this pandemic. I’m one of many for whom work’s been postponed as our nation navigates this situation. I’ve had more time this week than I’ve had in a long time as typically, even if I have time off, I travel to see my family on the east coast.
This time off has shed light on a topic I thought I fully grasped before but realize maybe we need to rethink. We generally accept that one of the top reasons for not working out is a lack of time. People have heaping amounts of work and personal life responsibilities and expectations to fulfill. I’ve been guilty of this myself as it seems things always come up that prohibit me from squeezing in an hour to exercise.
But, this week, I’ve had all the time in the world and still find myself facing the same struggle of finding the motivation to workout. Yes, perhaps some of us really don’t have the time but if something is as valuable as exercise to our physical and mental health, shouldn’t we make time for it? Exercise improves strength, endurance, quality of life, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and reduces stress, anxiety, symptoms of depression, and the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, and death from all causes.
Something this beneficial shouldn’t be optional. Some of us need to re-prioritize and place exercise and wellness in their proper places: above many of the other things that fill our days. A friend’s wife said to me recently that she didn’t have time to do some things because she had to work out. You don’t often hear people who aren’t athletes prioritizing exercise in this way but more of us should. We shouldn’t eliminate exercise because we don’t have time, we should eliminate other things because we have to exercise.
The Centers for Disease Control exercise recommendation is at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise at least 5 days per week. Walking at a pace above a stroll but slower than a power walk is sufficient to meet this and this can be done at home thanks to YouTube videos. This recommendation is for cardio and strength training and yoga have many physical and mental health benefits too.
As we spend more time at home, give this some thought and re-prioritize as needed. If exercise will help you to better serve the people around you, manage daily tasks, and fulfill your vision for life, you really can’t afford not to do it.
Blair S. et al. Physical Fitness and All-Cause Mortality: A Prospective Study of Healthy Men and Women. JAMA. 262:2395-2401, 1989.
Lee I. et al. Effect of Physical Inactivity on Major Non-Communicable Diseases Worldwide: an Analysis of Burden of Disease and Life Expectancy. Lancet. 380:219-229, 2012.