Springing into exercise
 

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posted Friday, June 10, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 23

Springing into exercise
by Que Areste, N.D. - Special to the SGN

There are many reasons to start an exercise program or to get back into one you have let slide over the winter. I could tell you that there are several studies showing exercise goes hand-in-hand with a long life, but I don't tend to think that far ahead. I exercise to feel good today.

Back when I was a student, I was a true geek and professed deep hatred for any kind of physical activity. We're not going to speak of the crush I had on my high school basketball coach which caused me to join the girls' basketball team as a freshman. And, yes, I was on the D team and couldn't actually go to games, but sometimes she drove me home. That was enough.

I was the despair of my next PE coach who couldn't get me interested in anything. I would rather curl up in a comfy armchair and read any day. Now I go to the YMCA six days a week and even went to the downtown Y while I was attending a class in Victoria for two weeks.

What caused this change in a devoted slug?

While I was a student at Bastyr University, I was in a class called Integrative Therapeutics, taught by Bill Mitchell. It was at 8a.m. and he started every class with a voluntary exercise session. Some people came a little late, taking the opportunity to sleep longer or linger over breakfast. A few folks sat in the classroom with sour looks on their faces as if to say, 'You are wasting valuable classroom time exercising. We could be getting more lecture time here.'

The rest of us got it. We realized that moving and stretching first thing in the morning was part of being healthy and teaching our patients how to live a healthy life. It was integrating healthy lifestyles into our therapeutic toolboxes.

This class opened my eyes to the benefits of exercise. I could think more clearly and stay awake more easily after I exercised than I could when I stayed in bed a little longer. I felt happier and functioned better after I had done a few stretches and yoga positions. It wasn't even very aerobic, but I never missed a day of that class. I even did some of those exercises on weekends. New stripes for an old slug.



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