Do you remember the One Ring from the Lord of the Rings? It was the “one ring to rule them all” that Frodo carried all the way from the Shire into the depths of Mordor, etc. etc. Yeah, it was kindof a big deal – in the books and the movies, believe it or not. In case you’re not familiar, this one ring basically determined the outcome in an epic struggle of good versus evil with the annihilation of the human race in the balance. Oh, and there were other cute woodland creatures, too.
Alas, this post is not about the adventures of hobbits, goblins, or even ridiculously good-looking elves, but rather about the One Exercise to rule them all. Like the one ring, the One Exercise is kindof a big deal. And it’s the one exercise that I would argue is not only the best of the best, but the best of the bestest – for so many reasons it would take entire volumes to explain it. And if you’re not doing this one exercise in your program… *deep breath through the nostrils* … more on that later.
The “One Exercise” Exercise
Think you know what it is? If you’ve been reading my blog, then I hope you know what it is. And we’re going to do a little exercise to try and figure it out – just in case. So, you’d better pay close attention.
Instructions: Read through the list below, which contains a smorgasbord of hints pertaining to the One Exercise that this post refers to. As you read through, try to guess which exercise offers all of the benefits outlined below – every single one of them. Just don’t strain yourself from thinking too hard as that would defeat the point of the exercise.
Note: I am not nearly clever enough to put these hints into verse, nor knowledgeable enough to write this in Elvish, nor brave enough to sing them – even if I were by myself in the depths of the forest surrounding Hobbiton. So, I’m just going to write them out in list format and call them the…
List of Hints
I know. You can praise my creative prowess later. First hint coming right up…
-The One Exercise not only lowers your risk of getting a heart attack, it also lessens your chance of dying if you do have one along with reducing the risk of having a 2nd heart attack in the future. Oh, and it improves blood pressure, too. And reduces the risk of having a stroke. And improves blood cholesterol. And… I think you get the idea. To put it bluntly, the One Exercise drastically lowers one’s risk of heart disease, which in case you haven’t heard, is the NUMBER ONE KILLER THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE WORLD COMPRISING THE ENTIRE SCOPE OF [KNOWN] HUMAN EXISTENCE. I know. Big deal, right? But most exercises do this naturally, so let’s move on.
-The One Exercise is particularly good at boosting endorphins. Are you stressed out? Tired or weary? Angry? Or, struggling with an addiction? The One Exercise can help with that. In fact, regular ______ has even been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, too. It’s fits quite the bill, doesn’t it?
-The One Exercise markedly strengthens the immune system and prevents sickness. Doing this exercise will not only help you prevent the common cold, it will also help you kick it once it’s invaded your system.
-The One Exercise improves heart health, blood circulation, and lung health and capacity for better cardio-respiratory fitness. Do you get winded standing on the escalator… err, walking up the stairs? All that is about to change if you start doing this One Exercise.
-The One Exercise burns fat, too. But most exercises do. So, that’s no surprise, right?
-The One Exercise builds and strengthens your muscles. The quads, hips, hamstrings, and calves will all get strengthened – as will the rest of your legs. And hey, it also works the arms and shoulders, and it even engages core strength, too. Pretty much the whole body. Yep.
-As if burning fat and building muscle wasn’t enough, the One Exercise also improves bone mass and joint integrity reducing the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis by morphing you into Wolverine from X-MEN. Or, something like that.
-The One Exercise improves sleep quality. That’s right. Tiring yourself out actually helps you sleep better. Who’d have thought?
Alrighty, so that’s a wrap on the hints. And don’t even think of asking me for more because I think I’ve been fairly generous already.
So, have you figured it out by now? I sure hope so.
Yes, the One Exercise To Rule Them All is walking. Cue the balloons. Yay.
You know, I’ve been saying for a long time that this whole physical activity thing is pretty good for people. And you know what? It’s the truth. But it’s nice to know that we can get ALL of the above benefits (and many more) from just one simple exercise that practically anyone can do.
Seriously, probably one of the biggest benefits of walking is that it’s like giving yourself a gift every time you do it. It’s just so incredibly rewarding. So, in all seriousness, do we really need another list of the top 10 reasons why we should walk daily? Along with the list above, walking reduces the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, colon cancer, breast cancer (probably other types of cancer as well), stroke, dementia, and even glaucoma. Glaucoma, people! I’ve even seen research showing that walking can help people get off their medication. I could go on and on. I really could. The evidence is out there.
Not to mention that walking is refreshing, invigorating, and fun – and can be so much more if we make it to be. It’s even been linked with better sex. Now, I’m sure we’ll keep researching, but we really don’t need more research in this area to start experiencing the plethora of benefits that an activity as simple and easy as walking offers. The bottom line is that walking is extremely good for us, and it’s accessible to virtually everyone.
I know I like to have fun and be all goofy from time to time, but this next part touches on a very serious issue.
Here’s the thing. Isn’t it kindof ridiculous that we even need research about the benefits of walking? Isn’t it silly that scientists, journalists, and even bloggers have to espouse all the benefits of walking and try to actually convince people to do more of it? I mean, really? Walking? This is one of the most fundamental human activities. You really can’t get much more basic than that. And yet, there’s a real need for people to walk more because we are literally non-walking ourselves to illness and death.
The next thing you know, and they’ll be telling us we need to actually get enough quality sleep. HAHAHA! Wouldn’t that be a riot!? What’s next? 5 years from now they’ll probably be telling us we should stand up more often, too! I can see the headlines now…
New Research Proves Standing Up Shown To Decrease The Risk Of Heart Disease.
Join us by standing up for more standing up in the workplace.
I crack myself up.
But you know what? That sounds utterly ridiculous. And you know why? Because it is ridiculous. And you know what’s even more ridiculous? This is actually happening – right now, today.
We have become so utterly disconnected from our physicality – our true nature – that we literally have lost the ability to take care of ourselves as a society. And not only are people’s lives suffering, but entire communities, cultures, and the planet as a whole (click here for more info on that).
We’ve got some massive problems on our hands that seem completely out of control with little hope for reform. But the good news is that you and I can make a difference in our own lives and in the lives of others by doing just one thing: making a decision to be different and choose a better quality of life.
Oh, and have I mentioned that anyone with two good legs can start walking today?
The truth is that choice is the only thing preventing us from making a difference. You don’t need to pay for something. You don’t need to take a class. You don’t need anything to get started. That’s right. No excuses, baby.
Hard Truth: You can either choose better health, fitness, strength, happiness, freedom, and quality of life, or you can choose illness, weakness, dissatisfaction, bondage, and a poor quality of life. If you choose the latter, then fortunately for you, it won’t last as long. I’m sorry. Bad joke.
My challenge to you today – right now – is to consciously – CONSCIOUSLY – choose to make a difference in your life by establishing a daily walking habit (or another positive habit if you already walk regularly. You don’t get off the hook that easily!). Go ahead and give yourself a free gift.
Personally, I spent years wishing that I would take up a daily walking habit, and it just never happened until I did something about it. So, if you need help, here’s what I did:
I really hope that you’re the type of person who takes matters into your own hands instead of waiting for a miracle to happen. Here’s a tip: you are a miracle, and by making a choice, you can create miracles every single day. It’s the truth. Honest-to-goodness.
“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.” – Albert Einstein
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Goethe
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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CST Coach, CST-KS
Health-First Fitness Coach
P.P.P.S. Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/silviapavone/