April Wellness Notes – Exercise!

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”  (I Samuel 16:17)

April and the 24 more days of Lent, give us continued time to look at what we are doing this season to allow the Lord to look into our hearts and prepare us for the Resurrection experience.  Other years we have done the “Walk to Jerusalem” and prompted ourselves to improve our physical wellness.   I would like to borrow from my fellow Faith Community Nurse, Betty Morgan RN, FCN’s words to prompt us to EXERCISE this season.

“Research suggests that we have misbranded health behaviors such as exercise. The health and weight-loss brand of exercise doesn’t create desire in people to exercise on a daily basis.  It makes behaviors feel like a chore and a “should,” which undercuts our desire to do them.  This approach is like telling a young child to “eat your veggies; they’re good for you,” which almost never accomplishes the desired goal.  We have made exercise feel like a chore to most people, not like a gift we give ourselves.

There are ancillary benefits in addition to the obvious health benefits, to regular exercise.

If you walk every morning with two to five people you will inevitably chat about your day, share thoughts and problems, see and offer advice, bolster sagging spirits, provide logistical support, alert one another to coming cultural events, discuss the news, books, articles and what-have-you.  No matter how awful you may feel when you get up in the morning, you will inevitable feel better after that walk.

A water aerobics class can lead to camaraderie with classmates even if you did not know one another before you joined the class.  You may find friends to lunch with, celebrate birthdays with, or find yourselves checking on one another in someone fails to attend a session.

Guys who go to the gym have an opportunity to talk with others about events, politics, sports, books and other topics of mutual interest.  You may end up with some new friends.  If you are married, make a gym “Date” with your wife and stride along on treadmills next to each other and talk about the day’s events.

Exercise can help people sleep better, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and blood sugar, as well as have a good time with friends.

How about getting a group of neighbors/church friends together and form a walking group?  Make a point to walk at least 3 times a week for at least thirty minutes each session.  If you’re in between meetings at the church, walk around the parking lot or up and down the stairs.  Belong to a prayer group?  Get the group together for a walking prayer.

Give yourself the gift of better health, a better night’s sleep, and say good-bye to a pound or two while enjoying the wonderful views and new or faithful friends.  Don’t forget to take the dog with you—they like exercise and camaraderie just as much as people do! “

Arrive at Easter with a renewed (& exercised) heart!!

Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

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