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The 7 must-have exercise essentials (hint: they’re not what you think)

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Staying active and keeping your body-as-a-temple in naturally fit shape may seem completely physical.

But when you look at it holistically (as a part of whole body healing), staying fit is really more mental-emotional.

Why? Because the way you feel about and look at your playtime activities (exercise is play, despite the drudgery that “aerobics” introduced into our exercise lives) are crucial to its success for your body.

If you love doing it, you’ll do it! If you can’t wait to get to your favorite activity during playtime, then of course you’ll master this part of you – and it will never be a chore, but rather a cherished privilege.

I am constantly amazed at how my son Spencer never seems to tire during soccer games. It’s arduous. He never stops. It’s jog, sprint, run, repeat. But his focused determination allows him to leave behind any feelings of working at this exercise. This is clearly his playtime — and he loves to play.

Not many adults retain an intimate connection between exercise and playfulness. Too often, as we age, we think we’re too busy, too old or just too alienated to engage in spontaneous play. But if you just imagine being 12 years old again, you can re-embrace your right to play.

Have you used your imagination during exercise lately? Activate your mental resources to make it like a “cardiovascular playtime.” The choices are almost limitless: Go out with your sweetheart walking under the stars, fly a kite, ride a bike – climb a tree! – or hike, jog, run side-by-side on treadmills at the gym, swim laps, do aerobics, run on the beach, build sand castles (you’d be surprised how much effort it takes!).

Find the activities that bring you happiness, celebration, relaxation, communication, love, joy, creativity, pleasure, abundance, spontaneity, passion, peace, self-esteem, courage and life energy. When you lock in to those types of exploits, you’ve discovered the activity for you – and exercise will no longer seem like a chore.

Once you’re focused on how you deserve to feel during playtime activity, make sure your activity fits these 7 qualifications:

  1. Can be performed at a convenient time of day – that way, you won’t want to put it off.
  2. Can be performed within your allotted time – if there’s no stress, you’re likely to be happy doing it.
  3. Allows you to warm up first and stretch out and cool down after – all our bodies need preparation and maintenance.
  4. Can be done pleasurably either with someone or alone.
  5. Can be accompanied by the right inspiration – whether that’s music or just attitude.
  6. Can be performed consistently – if you’re dreading it, you won’t want to do it.
  7. Affordable within your budget – your relationship with money and your budget can affect how you feel about everything, including your exercise.
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