I am a huge believer in that everything happens for a reason cliche. Always wanting to be a writer, my first full-time job was doing exactly that. When I moved out of New York, a newly married 23 year old, I was eager to land a writing job in South Florida. Not finding one quickly enough to satisfy my need to work, I took that minimum wage job at Elaine Powers, an all woman’s spa. Excited to do something different, it was especially fun to wear those cute little cranberry and white leotards and tights (especially since dressing for work was one of the things I did NOT like about my writing job). It was 1982 and I had no idea that my job would actually not only become my career and passion, but also the means to get and stay healthy!
At 94 pounds, I was not living a healthy lifestyle. I made some bad choices and still smoked cigarettes before teaching classes. (These, by the way, were not called aerobic classes as the word had not yet been coined). In those days, you went to the figure salon for mostly one reason and that was to lose weight, as the health benefits were really not extensively researched or acknowledged by the masses. Sure there were wacky people out there like Joseph Pilates, Jack LaLane,Richard Simmons and my mom, Ruth, but for the most part, people thought they were just NUTTY!
This past Tuesday the Wall Street Journal, in the Personal Journal section, had a lengthy article about the hidden benefits of exercise. Yup, they are still finding benefits that go beyond what we have learned over those 3 decades since I taught my first Team Time class. In 1990 the Surgeon General warned that inactivity was hazardous to our health. In 2008, our federal government actually issued its first physical-activity guidelines suggesting just 2 and half hours of moderate exercise a week (or 1 hour 15 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise) coupled with muscle-strengthening activities for all major muscle groups, just twice a week, would provide wonderful health benefits. Doubling those figures would serve to increase the benefits.
The health benefits include, but are not limited to, reducing strokes risk by 27%, reducing the incidence of diabetes by 50%, Reducing high blood pressure by about 40%, mortality and the risk of recurrent breast cancer by 50%, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by approximately 40%, (I can only hope!!!) and can decrease depression AS effectively as Prozac or behavioral therapy. These studies, done by the American College of Sports Medicine, don’t surprise me in any way, but they do affirm everything I believe in.
There is much more I want to share on this topic, but I will have to continue tomorrow as work calls! Tomorrow it’s on to the immune system and anti-aging! There really is no end to the benefits we receive from exercise. It really IS the MAGIC BULLET. I stumbled upon the bullet because everything happens for a reason. My hope for you today is that you will find a way to carve 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise into your day. We all have the same 24 hours. You owe it to YOURSELF! Your health really does depend upon it.