Sunday, October 6, 2013

Who is Number One?

People frequently tell me that the number one reason they don’t exercise is that they are too busy. And really, with our wired, media-driven, money-conscious, demanding society, it’s easy to accept that excuse. But if you are taking the Therapeutic Fitness Challenge(TM) with me, you can’t use that excuse for the next 21 days. So where are you going to find the 30 to 60 minutes you need each day for the assignments?

How we spend our time is a reflection of our priorities.  When I chop vegetables to roast them, cook chicken with herbs grown on my deck, and pack my roasted vegetables and leftover chicken for lunch, I am expressing that fresh food is a priority in my life. Otherwise, I would get some soup or sodium-rich chicken from the store or a restaurant. I also work a lot seeing clients, writing reports and articles like this, studying, and communicating with colleagues.  My husband works 40 hours a week, no more and no less. The time spent reflects our different priorities. On the other hand, I watch less than 6 hours a week of TV (unless it is football season).   

I know women who spend over an hour a day curling or straightening their hair or applying foundation, cover-up, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. Then there is time we spend, unconsciously mostly, doing things that are bad for our health. For example, almost everyone I know (myself included) uses bad posture for longer than 20 minutes at a time when watching TV on the couch, or glued to the computer (guilty right now), reading, or sitting in a bucket seat during a long commute.  And my daily chocolate habit or my husband’s chip habit could easily be replaced with a healthier behavior.   

It’s ironic, because most of our time allocation does not reflect our true priorities.  My better groomed friends would all agree that their internal health is more important than their looks. And we all know that the time we’d save from eating junk food or slouching would be better spent. I could avoid gossip or spend less time on Facebook. I might need to work less or wake up earlier or, heaven forbid, wear the same clothes two days in a row to get the time I need to take care of myself.

The great thing about a fitness challenge is that it gives us incentive to make changes, some that will be transient and others that will endure.  I hope you can agree that you are number one in your life and your essence is worth some extra time.

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