Slide 11 of 15
Exercise daily to achieve physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual benefits. Hopefully you can exercise in the sun. Why am I telling people to exercise in the sun? Because I think too much has been made about keeping people out of the sun. Keeping people inside is not the healthiest environment to exercise (or to do anything for that matter); the healthiest place is outside if we can find places that are not air polluted. I'm talking about exercising outside in the fresh air (preferably in a natural setting and not alongside a busy road) where the energy is. Sunlight actually provides us energy that we can incorporate into our bodies, like a solar panel would do. Furthermore, it provides nutritional nourishment; our skin produces Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Furthermore, the sunlight can be physically and emotionally invigorating. Do you know what seasonal affective disorder is? Sometimes called cabin fever, usually hitting people in late winter? These terms describe a condition associated with depressed mood, lethargy, or just not feeling right when a predisposed person does not get enough sunlight over the long winter. What makes one person more predisposed than another likely has to do with brain chemistry. For relief or prevention, you've got to get out there and get some sun. What's the proper amount? It likely differs for different people. I happen to like about 30 minutes of early morning sunshine (usually between 9:00 and 10:00 AM) for meditation, and 60-90 minutes in the late day sun for exercise (6:00 to 7:30 PM in the summer). Sometimes, I throw in about 20-30 minutes about 3:00 PM or so if I can go for a walk. This is the equivalent of my lunch break. Realize also, that there are trees that mix intermittent shade in with the sun exposure I just described. Can you get too much sun? Yes, absolutely. Thus, when I say get out in the sun, I don't mean sunbathing, lying there nearly nude in the high noon sun. Midday sun (especially from about 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, although this will depend on the time of year and your latitude), and allowing it more direct access to our bodies by lying down flat under it, is a potentially dangerous source of radiation which can cause skin cancer. And finally, have linked sun exposure to exercise because in that way, you will be upright for the most part, and moving around, thereby avoiding a concentrated direct exposure of sun to large parts of your body. Being in the sun and moving is part of nature. There is no animal that I am aware of that doesn't move. I don't think you can be healthy if you don't move.
Exercise keeps your muscles strong and your body toned; helps maintain your ideal body weight; is a natural anxiolytic and antidepressant; and keeps you from doing less healthy things. Example. When football starts in September, it is still warm and nice outside. Do I watch the Cowboys or do I go for a bike ride? Luckily, I usually go for the bike ride, which keeps me from doing the unhealthy thing of sitting on the couch watching the game.
Exercise stimulates cognitive function. Part of the unfortunate mental deterioration that occurs as we get older can be delayed or prevented with exercise. It stimulates blood flow everywhere in the body, including the brain. Sometimes you can even feel high from exercise. Opiate-like hormones called endorphins and enkephalins stimulate a runner's high. That's not the reason to exercise, but it sure does make you feel good.
There is social interaction that we get from exercise. Health clubs, health classes, bike riding on trails.
Also, what we get from the rhythmic breathing of exercise is a meditative function. Sometimes we even feel closer to G-d.
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