The Importance and Benefits of Exercise

courtesty getty images As the wife of a collegiate level strength and conditioning coach I am constantly informed of the importance of living an active lifestyle. However, I did not realize how being sedentary could adversely effect my life until I read The Toll of Sedentary Living in chapter 5 of "An Invitation to Health" (Hales, 2009).

“Sedentary living claims some 250,000 lives, accounting for 10 percent of all deaths in America every year, and contributes to four of the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.” (p. 110)

Three of these risk factors cause poor health in my family or my husband’s family. While my husband’s biological risks do not directly impact my personal health, we are the parents of two boys, ages 17 months and 4 years. Hence, I am spiritually and intellectually motivated to change my fitness habits in order to promote a lifestyle of wellness to my children.

One of the dimensions of health is spiritual health. For me, good parenting goes beyond moral issues it’s a matter of faith. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he shall not depart from it.” (NASB) From my understanding of this scripture “train” means “to teach”. In most of my classes my teachers lead by example: most health and physical education teachers are physically fit; most English teachers use proper grammar; and most home economics teacher can sew. If I desire to raise good children as my faith instructs me, the insurance that they lead healthy, active lives comes from me leading one. My goal is to eliminate some of the predisposing factors of unhealthy behavior in knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, values, and perceptions (p. 15).

The intellectual side of my wants to be certain that as I live my life I take into consideration the information provided to me. As an African American my race alone predisposes me to certain risks. However, applying what I have learned will most likely increase my life expectancy.

Being physically fit should be more than a goal of aesthetic appeal, although it can be a mitigating factor. Fitness for a healthy lifestyle should be forefront in ones motivation for change as a continuous commitment unlike reaching a milestone of 20 pounds. In project management, once a milestone is reached resources are rallied around the next task at hand. However, in athletic performance – a lifestyle in itself – once a race is won training for the next begins.

Participating in a planned, deliberate exercise regimen promotes cardio respiratory fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, healthy body composition, and functional fitness (p. 108). Exercise improves your mood, reduces psychological symptoms, and sharpens your thinking (p. 111). As a college student and a mother, I need all the extra brain capacity I can get.

Making the change from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one benefits me physically, spiritually, intellectually, and socially.

Advertisements