Monday, June 6, 2011

Intentional Health: Exercise with a Purpose!

It's been said that successful people don't wait for things to happen to them, they happen to things.  I like to think of this as good old fashioned doing things on purpose.  Specifically, doing things on purpose to benefit YOU!  In case you haven't caught on, I'm talking about getting healthy. :P  This week is about intentional health.

Intention is something I talk about a lot around the holidays because it is one of the four tools in my healthy toolchest.  Unless you're doing something intentionally every day to achieve your wellness goal, you're only going to experience a mediocre level of achievement. Since we're all busy and need to get the biggest bang for our healthy minute, I don't see any purpose in not giving each one of them the full effort.

Today we'll focus on intentional exercise: choosing a workout that is going to be the best fit for what you want to do in life. Exercising for function is just smart, and it makes exercise a lot more rewarding because you're not only working towards getting healthier overall, but you're preparing your body for something else you want to do.  For example, if you have a hiking trip coming up and don't want to be winded, you should intentionally do exercise that mimics that activity. Walk outside or on a treadmill on varying inclines and terrains, do step-ups to strengthen your legs and mimic climbing a hill or over a ledge, and gradually increase your distance and intensity over time. As a result, your lungs, legs, and cardiovascular system will be ready for your trip and you'll be healthier overall.  Exercise with a purpose. Intentional health.

For me, one of the hardest parts of living in my pregnant body is letting go of my beautiful, sculpted arms. I knew my midsection would go, of course, and my legs and bum as well.  It just goes with the territory of storing fat for the little one. But my arms too?  Really?  I've worked so hard on them, it would be nice if I could keep the guns looking lean and mean a little bit longer! I've turned to intentional exercise: I'm swimming three times a week, doing compound upper body exercises in the gym, and purposely looking for ways I can challenge my arms without lifting too much weight.

A good way to find out if your workout is intentional is to channel the curiosity of a four-year-old child and start asking why. Even little kids know that even the most mundane chores are more fun (and bearable) when there is a purpose. If you're not sure what exercise would be the most intentional for your life goals, inquire with a certified personal trainer (like mio).

Health is more fun when you do it on purpose. Now get out there and be healthy!


Stephanie said...

I know what you mean about pregnant arms! Just not fair. :)

Healthy Heather said...

So it's not just me! This goes right up there with breastfeeding: I think breastfeeding should make your boobs look BETTER at the end, and pregnancy should result in a rockin' bod by the time its all said and done. Hey, if nothing else it will help keep the world repopulating!