With all the talk of New Years resolutions, I got to thinking about exercising since that is such a common resolution people have. It is not mine, however; I already workout regularly. I’ve always exercised off and on, but since August of last year I’ve exercised consistently. In the past, I always had good intentions involving working out, but I always fell off the wagon for a month or two then got back on the wagon for a month or two, rinse repeat all year long. 

What changed? Well, my health, or perhaps I should say the way I started thinking about my health.

I am a very lucky person when it comes to my health; I inherited excellent genes. High blood pressure, diabetes, and hypothyroidism all run in my family, and I’ve been lucky enough to escape all of them.  So why am I worried about my health? Well it’s simple, I’m not getting any younger. I decided I want to get ahead of things instead of behind them.  It’s much easier to prevent than cure. 

One of the side benefits I’ve found with working out is that afterward I feel refreshed both physically and mentally. I can practically hear you saying, “What?  You should be physically exhausted.”  I used to think so too, but no longer. Exercise should not be painful. It should not be something you dread. If it is, you are doing it wrong. I’m able to keep myself in shape without killing myself. My heart health has improved, and I’ve lost the few pounds I gained with age. But I regress.  I wanted to talk about the mental clarity and the relaxing effect. 

Writing can be mentally draining at times.  Particularly when things are not going well.  So a note to my fellow writers: Taking a break from writing to exercise can be just the thing to get your writing back on track. I for one have a hard time taking a break when I’m trying to write, but I’ve learned that frustration only breed more frustration.  At least for me. You have to step away sometimes. Allow your mind to take a break.  And let’s face it all that sitting and staring at a computer screen isn’t good for you.  

There are actual studies that show a relation between aerobic exercise, memory, and learning. Now I know you can find studies to prove just about any point, but based on my own experience I believe it.  With consistent exercise for 30 minutes a day five days a week I’ve found that I do indeed have better memory. I don’t have the “brain fog” I experienced in the past. It’s helped writing of course, but it’s also saved me some trips to the store. ☺ I am notorious for making a list and then forgetting the list or not reading the list while at the store. Having watched my beloved grandmother get dementia, I’ve decided I do not want to go there, so I’m not going down without a fight. That is why I’ve made exercise part of my daily routine.

I highly recommend Jessica Smith for those working out at home. Before Jessica I did Jillian Michaels, p90x, and other Beachbody dvds.  While I did see a benefit from those, I never had as much fun as I do with Jessica. Even though I don’t always feel like I’m working as hard as I did with Jillian, I still see the same benefits physically.  Mentally and psychologically, I see more benefit. I no longer dread working out. Oh sure there are times when I’d rather do something else, but I don’t have to psych myself out to go work out. So if you are one of those people who call the treadmill the dreadmill, do yourself a favor. Go check out Jessica.  If it’s not for you, find something that is.  Exercise should not be painful, physically or mentally.  It’s hard to stick with something you hate. Hence the yoyo exercising throughout my life. My critique partners used to joke about falling off the wagon and whether we could still see the wagon through the cloud of dust or if it was long gone.  I admit I’ve fallen off the wagon a few days, but only a few days, I can always see the wagon now and I always have hopes of catching back up to it and jumping on. 

No matter what your New Year’s resolution is I hope you have a fantastic new year!