Optimize Your Day: Exercise

Whew!  It's been a long journey, but we've finally arrived at the last step in optimizing our mornings, and that step is exercise.  Not only does exercise benefit our bodies, but it also helps increase our focus and improve our overall attitude.  But let me stress that this is not (and should not be) the only exercise you get throughout the day.  This is just a quick boost to get your body moving, your blood flowing and your mind awake.  I like to focus on an exercise session between five and ten minutes long.  Before I go into more detail, let me also remind you that you'll need to spit your oil out into a trashcan and brush your teeth before doing your exercise.  Working out while oil pulling is NOT a good idea!

Okay, so what kind of exercises should you do?  That's completely up to you.  If you have an exercise bike, treadmill or elliptical, you may want to simply do 5-10 minutes of cardio.  That's fine.  If you're a fan of yoga or pilates, YouTube has an impressive selection of quick videos that can lead you through a brief morning workout.  You can take a short walk around your neighborhood or do 100 jumping jacks.  The possibilities are endless, and it may take you a few tries to figure out what works best for you.  Some of you may enjoy doing the same routine every day while others enjoy a little more variety.  That's fine!  You know your needs, your body's limitations and what you like, so take that knowledge and put it into action.

What are you trying to accomplish during this time?  As I said, this is not your main workout, so the focus shouldn't be on calories burned or weight loss.  This time is about waking up your body and loosening your joints.  Even a brief morning routine can allow additional oxygen to the body, which helps us to shake off the groggy, focus our minds and improve our attitudes.  I know some of you will balk (and possibly even unsubscribe) at this, but a five-minute workout in the morning will give you more boost than a cup of coffee.  (That's not to say that you can't have the coffee too.  Okay?  Please don't hate me!)

One last thing I want to address in this area is the plethora of excuses that people can come up with for not exercising.  There are no good reasons to ignore the care of the temple of the Holy Ghost!  Sorry, but it's true.  Are there factors that limit the amount or types of exercise that some are capable of?  Absolutely.  For example, because of my shoulder issues, I can't do exercises like pull-ups or pushups because it puts too much wear and strain on my joints, and they tend to dislocate (NOT FUN!).  So, you know what I do?  I avoid those exercises or find variations of them that I can safely do.  I don't use it as an excuse not to do any exercise at all.  If all you can do is ten toe-touches and five knee bends, that's fine.  Do that!  But please, don't allow excuses to hinder you from getting your day off on the right foot.  I think you'll be amazed at how much better and more energetic you'll feel after doing just a few minutes of exercise.  Try it and see!

Here's a little video I love doing.  I don't do it every morning, but I try to add it into my weekly run of routines.  It's quick, but I promise you, you'll feel a difference, and don't be surprised if you find your body aching for the first few days.  (Trust me, that's a good sign.)  The video contains a couple of exercises that I can't do because of physical issues, so I just substitute in movements that I can do. What I love about this particular video is that it combines strength training with cardio, and it keeps track of time, so I don't have to.  I hope you'll enjoy it as well.

Whatever exercise you decide to do, make it fun!  Remember, this is the last step of our precious morning optimization.  By this point, we've filled our minds and hearts with thoughts of God.  We've prayed, given thanks, read and meditated on the Word of God, and set up a plan for honoring God throughout the day.  Don't allow all of that positive energy to go out the window by thinking, Great!  Now I have to exercise.  I hate exercise!  Instead, think of it as a service to the Lord.  By taking care of your body, you'll be able to do more for the Lord and others.  Keep that in mind as you're working out, and it will help keep negativity at bay.

That's it!  Those are the eight steps to Optimize Your Day each morning, every day.  Tomorrow, I'll do a brief review of the steps and give you a couple of examples of a full morning optimization.  Plus, I have an added surprise that I've discovered has made the process even better, so be sure to check back tomorrow.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? - I Corinthians 6:19