Run, Mary, Run

DSC_0032We’ve all heard it a thousand times: the importance of physical exercise cannnot be overestimated.

But before you tune out, hear this: it’s not quite what you think. While it’s great to participate regularly in vigorous activity for many reasons, the salient point is that a sedentary lifestyle is inherently out of balance with the other two primary aspects of self-awareness and self-care, mind and spirit. Stress is a physical, physiological, neurochemical phenomenon no matter its origin. Your body mobilizes to react, respond, and resolve it even if you were merely thinking stressful thoughts. The mind-body connection is real and means you’ve got to pay attention to both realms if you’re trying to reduce your stress and get more relaxed. So you’ve got to attend to it. It’s a key part of The New Plan A and it really that simple.

Must you quit your day job and become an olympic athlete? Absolutely not. The thing to do is… just move.

And rather than seeing it as yet another item on the already overflowing “to-do list,” think of it as a way to do actually increase your overall efficiency. You’ll be more centered mentally and more relaxed physically if you allow yourself some physical “exercise.” It’s a kind of recess. It’s like taking your dog for a run. You’ll be pleased with even subtle results. So move your body in any one (or more) of several ways. Get up out of your chair. Stretch. Walk (even just around the room, the building, the block). Take a yoga class. Try Tai Chi or Qi Gong. Walk at the mall or local high school. Join a gym. Dance. And remember it’s all about balance. If you’re serious about creating a New Plan A, it’s going to be necessary to incorporate this dimension. The good news is that you’ll feel less vulnerable and more robust on every level. Try it and see for yourself.