For the last several years, the White Coat Ceremony at which the first year medical students at the University of South Dakota commence their training has begun with a musical selection entitled “Starting From Here.” The motivational title of the piece is taken from the title of one of my father’s fine books of poetry.
I am struck by how we all have the opportunity to embark on a journey towards our own wellness and happiness by “Starting From Here,” by starting from whatever moment we are at.
Just as the med students will be endeavoring to understand how to make the human body well, we can come to understand how to proactively create wellness in our own bodies by discovering and engaging in exercise routines that we love.
Like a beginning medical student studying, the more consistent we are in our exercise routines, the more our efforts will pay off. I find this consistency isn’t always easy. Take yesterday morning for instance. The alarm went off at 6:45AM and I did not want to get up and go to Leela’s yoga class at nine, even though I absolutely love Leela’s class. Against my wishes to sleep, I finally got up and made it to class in plenty of time. Half-way through the class, I was so grateful that I decided to come and couldn’t imagine what my day would have been like if I slept in and missed class.
I relay this bit of my life to you to emphasize the importance of finding physical activities that you love to do. If I had planned to do some type of exercise that didn’t appeal to me yesterday at nine, I would have probably shut my alarm off at 6:45 AM and stayed in bed.
Exercise has been a major part of my life for many years, but not because it is something I force myself to do to burn calories or stay in shape. Rather, I have found exercise activities that I love to engage in. For years, I was into walking long distances, and now I go to a yoga class everyday that I can.
I am drawn to these physical activities time and time again not because I feel I have to do them but because I love to do them.
A willingness to return to an exercise time and time again is important because the benefits of an exercise accumulate. For example, if you start out running a half-mile and add another half-mile on each day, within about a year you will be running the distance of a marathon. Isn’t that cool? Whereas if a person runs a half-mile one-day, adds another half-mile the next and then quits on the third because he or she really can’t stand running, the benefits of the exercise hardly have time to accumulate.
“Starting From Here,” why not embark on an exploration to find more physical activities that really turn you on? If you love your current exercise routine, use this exploration to find new activities to possibly add to you routine or to engage in once and awhile. If you don’t have an exercise routine or are stuck in a rut with your current routine, try a variety of new physical activities until you find the ones that will get you out of bed at 6:45 AM, those mornings when you really want to roll over and tell you alarm to get lost.
Game of the Day
Part One- List three physical activities (anything from walking, to machines at the gym, to exercise classes to competitive sports) that you feel you might enjoy.
Part Two- Schedule times in your calendar to try each of these three activities.
Part Three- Have fun exploring and finding an exercise routine you love!