By now, most health clubs and gyms have opened up to some degree, allowing folks to get back on their exercise track. I thought this would be the perfect time to remind you how to get the most out of the time you spend working out. You see, 85 percent of people do not exercise enough to get the heart-healthy benefits, according to the Athletic Fitness Association of America (AFAA). Yikes! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to waste a bunch of time. I want results!
The best way to ensure you get the health benefits of your cardiovascular exercise is to increase the intensity. Intensity is what challenges our heart to work. It is designed to breathe in and out, so it must be pushed to improve. When we have the right intensity, our body’s metabolism increases, and we can experience weight loss.
Intensity can be increased several ways and depends upon the activity. Intensity does not have to equate to high impact, though. For instance, when walking or bicycling uphill your heart rate will go up. Swimming against the current in the ocean is better than laps in a pool…unless you wear a weighted vest for added resistance. Any time we have our arms over our head, our heart has to work harder. That is why aerobic instructors have you use your arms a lot. Hiking uses our leg muscles, and that requires more oxygen.
If you are exercising at the right intensity, you will be breathing hard. You can speak but shouldn’t be able to have a conversation. When you work at your target exercise rate, you cannot read a book or even watch a TV. You will be struggling, and that is why it is called working out. Don’t multitask and waste your time without getting the benefits of a strong heart.
I share more about the formula for success here.
Like many, I found myself getting worked up and stressed over COVID-19 one day. I was sharing my frustrations and concerns with my friend and neighbor when she said, “A wise person once told me to remember what I have control over.” Ha! She just read my blog about the Circle of Influence, and I had to laugh. I forgot my own advice…for a moment, anyway.
Just because I share stress management strategies doesn’t mean I am not human. Alas, I am, and I can get wrapped up and consumed by worry like anyone else. The difference is that I don’t get stuck there for long. I take a deep breath and work on my own thoughts. Switching from fear to faith, I can make a shift in my emotional state and ultimately change my behavior.
One way I can improve my thinking is with prayer. It may not change my circumstances, but it will change my perspective. Recently, my pastor challenged us to replace our anxiety, discouragement, frustration, worry, and fear with prayer. He said, “Can you imagine if every time we discussed COVID-19 and its impact that we prayed instead what would happen?”
Although I have limited the amount of time I watch the news, I still find myself feeling the strain of the COVID-19 personally, professionally, emotionally, and relationally. Instead of feeding the uncertainty, perhaps we all need to fuel our spirits with prayer. Again, something my pastor offered was a way to pray when we may not have the exact words or know what to even ask. He calls it PDF: Protection, Direction and Favor.
I love it and have been using it as I prayer for others. I may not know all the details, but I can ask God to PDF them! As we move forward and put the pieces back together again, let’s offer up prayers. We are going to need them.
Many people are going back to the office, but before it is “business as usual,” let’s take the time to discuss these important questions:
- As a result of COVID-19 and an altered state of work, what have you found that you don’t need?
- What process, meeting, concept, or event has proven to provide little to no value?
- Because of the unique circumstances of COVID-19, what have you implemented that has enhanced your day, improved your department, or benefited your company?
- What new attitude, idea, or behavior have you found to add great value?
I encourage you to review these with your team. One, it will provide a great ice-breaker to get back together, and two, you may just have some great nuggets that will benefit everyone!
COVID-19 was a storm that raged upon us without warning. Every storm has a silver lining, and lessons can be learned if we are willing to look for them. My husband, Steve Smith, faced some intense storms out at sea while commercial fishing, and he shares them in his book, Lessons from the Sea. Gain insights, wisdom and encouragement through his stories. You will enjoy the adventures today, but the lessons will stay with you for a lifetime.