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Finding Value in Physical Activity

by Vanessa Joubert

All of us have been entrusted with something.  It is that remarkable ability to decide.  Yes.  Stop a moment before reading further. Capture the thought, think it through, and write it down.

Every decision I make brings me one step closer to my goal/happiness or takes me one step further away from my goal/happiness.  Each one of us can create a ripple effect in our own lives and in the lives of others.  We just need to decide and show up for something that will make us feel in control something that will make us feel “I matter”.   It’s called “working out.”   (Don’t stop reading – this may just be the article that will change your life).

Cultivate the willpower to just get 30 minutes of some form of physical activity in three times a week.  The mental and emotional benefits will far outweigh the physical benefits.  With the colder weather drawing nearer, the temptation to spend hours embedded in a screen is huge; the results of physical inactivity – brutal.  Yes – it is harder to train the willpower than anything else – willpower is that intangible “muscle” that can move mountains.

In his book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins writes about the Stockdale Paradox.  He says “You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end and you must also confront the most brutal facts of your current reality.”     Identify where you are right now, what is causing these moments of panic, anxiety, not good enoughness, aloneness or frustration.  To balance optimism and realism, intuition and planning, faith and fact can be very difficult.  Think the thought, think it through and write it down.

Let’s go back to working out.  From the main campus at the University of Windsor to the Forge in the St Denis Centre is a 10-15 minute walk.  We all get our schedules at the beginning of the semester.   We all mind-read i.e. we assume everyone finds it easy to get to the gym and work out.  We are all busy.  However, the reality is this. If something is not scheduled it won’t happen.  And then there is the intrinsic motivation.  How do I get myself to The Forge?  I don’t know where to start or what to do? I don’t know how to use the equipment and wonder if someone will help me.  As a woman, I feel self-conscious.  Stop the insanity.  Here are some benefits to help you outweigh and boost your decision-making process:

Research has shown that those who exercised on workdays have experienced a significantly improved mood on days that they exercised.  Key findings showed that exercise leads to many improvements in mental focus and motivation:

  • 72% had improved time management on exercise days compared to non-exercise days
  • 79% reported improved mental and interpersonal performance in exercise days.
  • 74% said they managed their workload better
  • Those who exercised regularly reported feeling more than 40% more motivated to work and scored more than 20% higher for concentration and finishing work on time.

Some tips:

  1. Schedule your workouts with a buddy. Be vulnerable. Ask questions. There is no wrong question.
  2. Avoid sitting more than 15 minutes.
  3. Once you get yourself into a workout routine – try a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class.
  4. Core exercises – you can do them in your room, in the park, on a bench! An example: the Plank.
  5. Stretching – you can do them in your room, in the park, on a bench, add a yoga class or do a mindful meditation 15-minute routine. Do Active Isolated Stretching.
  6. Strength Training – Now this will really optimize the health benefits.

You are worth making time in your life for yourself.


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