I started that day with a strange energy about me.  I had worked late the night before and probably was not as rested as I would have liked, yet I was determined not to let the day slip away before leaving for my next shift, and after my coffee I got right to work clearing the floor of toys, vacuuming and mopping.  As I moved from one task to the next I found myself struggling with my mood, attitude and outlook.  Particularly, my little “storm cloud” kept creeping back into position over my head.

You know what I mean, the storm cloud is that negative, nagging, even toxic thought that creeps into our brains and blocks positivity, productivity and even happiness.  It’s different for everyone.  For some, it involves thoughts of self-defeat or unworthiness; perhaps it is about envy, work, money or a relationship; maybe it is about a situation or circumstance.  Whatever it is about, that rain cloud is a thief.  It blocks your sunshine and takes the place of thoughts which lead to your success.  

Armed with that knowledge, I attempted to lead my brain to a more peaceful, productive place.  The nagging persisted like it had a life of its own, pushing its way into the back of my mind and bringing with it an annoyed, hot feeling.  There is a great deal out there on how to tend the garden of your thoughts, or “mind your mind,” as I have heard.  You can find advice from the best of the best in personal development: Tony Robbins, Mastin Kipp and Martha Beck are a few of my favorite experts who teach methods for positive thinking.  But, you might be surprised to learn now that the answer on that particular day had little to do with what sort of thinking I used.

The important thing to remember about how I felt on that day, was that I started out feeling charged like lightening, unsettled, preoccupied, edgy and perhaps even a bit restless.  Tension throughout my body was the physical mirroring the mental.  It has taken me time and practice to identify while it is happening this kind of thinking and feeling.  With effort, one can train herself to  snap out of a little funk like that, I am learning.  Standing at the sink, moodily scrubbing dishes a little longer than necessary to get the food off, I asked myself, “What is this mood really about?” I knew there was a reason I was dwelling on something so negative it was unworthy of a second of my time.

Just like that, my body answered.  It occurred to me that a week had passed since my last run.  Okay, hear me out, because I know some of you are saying to yourselves that you would only run if something were chasing you!  I find some of what my friends post on Facebook about running to be hilarious, the latest I saw states, “I never run with scissors.  The last two words were unnecessary.”  This sarcastic humor makes me chuckle, and I get you, I’m not arguing that you take up running.  It’s arguable if my leisurely jog can even be called running, but regardless, I get moving and here is why you should too:

You are worth it, loved and needed.

Let me say it again, so you can let it sink in.  You are worth it, loved and needed.  Those are the number one, two and three reasons you should get moving, but if that’s not enough for you, then (you know me) I have some textbook reasons.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, “the benefits of regular physical activity [are] weight control, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease [stroke and heart attack, not a joke], reduce your risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome, reduce your risk of some cancers, strengthen muscles and bones, improve your mental health and mood, improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls (if you’re an older adult) and increase your chances of living longer.”- http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health/

Other benefits are a stronger immune system, lower diastolic blood pressure, increased cognitive capacity* and better sleep at night.^  A researcher from Tufts compared older adult women who had not previously exercised.  Those who began regular physical activity gained bone density and better balance, versus those who stayed sedentary and lost both bone density and balance.  One in three women will suffer a hip fracture before age 90 and many will die from this event.*  

After I received the message loud and clear from my body, that it was time to get moving, I made exercise my next priority.  Running allows me some serene time to myself to soak in the beauty around me and free my body of stress and tension.  A good run around my neighborhood cleared my storm cloud and almost magically my thoughts changed.  The nagging, unproductive thoughts I had clung to earlier were released, and I freed my mind for better thinking.  I realize that running is not for everyone, but exercise can be accomplished in so many other ways.  How will you get moving?

* The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-michael-j-breus/sleep-and-exercise_b_3071100.html

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    Jennifer Loebel