Our Olympic athletes have returned from Rio. As usual, there were surprises, life-changing events, heart-warming stories, and more.
On one hand, I am amazed at what the athletes can accomplish, as just qualifying for the Olympics requires a high level of proficiency and skill in their sport of choice, yet on the other hand, I can’t see the point.
I am NOT athletic and, no matter how many times I’ve tried, I can’t seem to get into exercise either. I took dance lessons for years, and have done yoga off and on for a couple decades, but I’ve never established a dedicated practice or disciplined approach to it. I can be so disciplined in other areas, so it is weird that I can’t transfer that to exercise.
Then I read that recent research shows the only benefit to what we traditionally think of as “exercise” - cardio workouts, running, weight-training, etc. - is that it increases the oxygen levels in our blood, otherwise there is no real benefit to going to the gym or working out for an hour. It doesn’t burn enough calories to cause weight loss or improve health. It is the increased oxygen in the blood that causes any improvements and those are negated as so many of us aren’t breathing deeply enough except during that half to full hour of exercise. If we just starting breathing more fully, we wouldn’t have to “exercise” at all.
Now that doesn’t mean that we can be couch potatoes and not move at all since our bodies do require movement to stay healthy and our joints lubricated, but we require simple movements such as rambling walks. The trouble, besides our tendency to shallow breathing, is that we move intensely for a short period of time and then call it good, when we should be moving almost constantly throughout the entire day. Pacing around while talking on the phone, standing while typing on our computers (making sure the computer is on a higher surface), walking up and down stairs, bending and reaching, and spontaneous dancing, hopping, skipping and jumping such as you see young children doing.
I do admire elite athletes as they show us what the human body is capable of, but for the rest of us, deep breaths, and more general movement throughout the course of each day, is a better goal to strive for.
Read the complete issue of The Chautauqua here: https://sites.google.com/site/thechautauqua20/home/September%202%2C%202016%20Chautauqua.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1