Why Physical Activity is Important
Making physical activity a habit is easier than you think, when you think about it for what it really is.
Why is Physical Activity Important?
Physical activity is critical but oftentimes we just don’t get around to it. Physical activity aids in the movement of lymphatic fluids that carry waste out of the body and carry white blood cells for fighting infection and killing the old or abnormal cells dumped into the lymph system. Lymph nodes, located throughout the body, are like little filtering stations for the garbage traveling through the lymphatic system. The nodes contain the white blood cells, T cells and B cells that attack bacteria and viruses. This is one way cancer travels and is why doctors always check lymph nodes near the site of a malignant tumor; to see if the cancer has started to move, or metastasize. I could never understand why we could have our tonsils and adenoids removed as if it were no big deal. They are part of this critical part of the immune system. And they say the spleen is not needed either. I guess, unlike the heart and lungs, you can get by without them a lot longer. But they are all part of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is an important part of our immune system. Go figure we have a population full of people suffering from immune system disorders. The lymphatic system is just one of the many benefactors of physical activity.
Today I want to focus on how to make physical activity so easy you’ll miss it if you don’t do it. First, the fundamentals. You always want to choose activities you enjoy and feel good doing. Don’t pick activities just because they are the latest fad or trend, or all your friends are doing it. Make sure it’s something you can do and enjoy doing. If you can’t and don’t, it will reduce your desire to engage in physical activities for health benefits. The key is to find things you enjoy so you do them for the enjoyment. Then the health benefits become an added and awesomely needed bonus.
Now, if you’re thinking, “yeah, but yoga is kind of trendy, and you’re always talking about yoga,” you’re right. But yoga is trendy for the right reasons. Yoga is thousands of years old (the opposite of a trend or fad) and proven to aid in the holistic management of health and well-being. Yoga is used therapeutically for pain management, stress reduction, and physical therapy. Yoga builds strength, flexibility and calms the mind. Yoga can be practiced by anyone. You don’t need to be strong or pretzel-like in your flexibility to get started. If yoga interests you, I suggest you find a good yogi (teacher) and start with beginner classes. I have a subscription to Gaia for $10 month and I get all the yoga I want for that price. Find your way and go with it.
if you get bored easily with one thing, find 2-3 things you enjoy so you have variety. I do yoga daily for 20-30 minutes and then I add to that walking or running or cycling. Let your body tell you what it needs from day to day. Even if you engage in endurance activities like cycling or running, there are days your body just wants to walk.
Lock it in
The second fundamental is prioritizing it until it becomes habit. I know, now you’re saying you just don’t have time. I’m here to tell you that you do. Sketch out your day. What are the things you must do in the next 24 hours? I say MUST. There are a lot of things you do that are not necessary. Where in those non-necessities could you carve out 30 minutes each day for physical activity? Could you go to bed a half hour earlier and get up a half hour earlier to start your day by moving your lymph and circulatory systems? They would love you for it.
The key to ensuring you get your daily activity is by prioritizing it and scheduling it into your routine. Put it in your calendar. It will take some time, but eventually you won’t need to schedule it anymore. It will be like eating, bathing and brushing your teeth. How often do you complain you don’t have time for those activities? You wouldn’t. They are part of life. They are part of maintaining your health; just like physical activity.
What activities do you love? What would you like to try? Maybe group activities give you more motivation and accountability? If you need the accountability, find a buddy or a room full of buddies who will be looking for you to show up. That may be the thing that gets you started and keeps you going. Whatever your path, blaze one.
Yours in Wellness,