Raising Happiness


Getting Moving

July 19, 2010 | Walking the Talk | 0 comments

I don’t really exercise. How can I not do something so clearly important for happiness?

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. —Confucius

There is a lot of research that documents how fabulous exercise is for improving our health and happiness; it might be the most important thing.  And it seems that regular exercise makes us smarter as well as happier. Who couldn’t use a little brain boost?

This counts as exercise.  And unplugging. And bliss.  (Also maybe meditation?) This counts as exercise. And unplugging. And bliss. (Also maybe meditation?)

Here’s something I’d rather people not know about me:  I don’t really exercise.  How can I not do something so clearly important for happiness?

My exercise “routine”—always more of an intention than a routine—died hard at the end of the school year when I had at least one sick kid home for THREE weeks in a row, then found myself with a low fever for weeks, convinced I had BOTH my older daughter’s strep and my younger daughter’s pneumonia.  Very good excuses not to exercise, if you are looking for them.

Honestly, I’m a little skeptical that I can keep adding all this self-care into my life before I start to falter.  Can I really unplug, meditate, do something inspiring, AND exercise?  Everyday?  Seems a little indulgent at best; at worst, it seems just plain unrealistic. 

But then I think, do I want to be satisfied with my life or not?  Given that I actually know how to live the happiest life possible, and that I really value happiness for both myself and my children, I have no excuses later should I find myself in the “I love my kid/I hate my life” crowd. 

As with my meditation practice, I know the most important thing with this exercise business is to start small.  I’m “doing it all wrong” with the meditation, as one commenter mentioned, but even so, I’m finding a little time each day to do it and that feels good.  And though last week I pledged to find an hour each day for something that brings me bliss, and not once did I find a whole hour—that was delusional—I did find a lot more time last week for things that truly inspire me.

So although I’d like to implement a full exercise program that incorporates yoga, aerobic exercise, and strength training, I won’t.  Instead, I’ll just go for a walk. That’s my goal for the week: Each day, I’m going walk for 20 minutes. Seems a little unambitious, but it is more than I’m doing now.  Once I get in the habit of getting my body moving again, I can focus on actually getting it back in shape.

I always love company in trying to fulfill my resolutions, so please let me know if you are “Walking the Talk” along with me.  If you are trying to get some exercise this week, what is working for you?  How is it going? What obstacles have you faced, and how can you remove them?

© 2010 Christine Carter, Ph.D.

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