Getting Your Act(ions) Together: The Importance of Movement

Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus

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“I’m a natural born couch potato.” Maurice said this with an air of resignation. Then he added, “I even remember finding every excuse in the book to avoid gym at school. ” Maurice needs to learn that strenuous exercise is not necessary for good health, but a brisk walk twenty or thirty minutes a few times a week would enhance his likelihood of wellness.

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The mind-body connection has been emphasized for many years and in various contexts. In short, what tones up the body also positively affects our mental, emotional, or psychological well-being.

Various experts have pointed out that many of us simply do not move our bodies enough. Something as simple as a five-minute walk before each meal can make an enormous difference. Activity increases your metabolic rate and burns calories which is all to the good.

• You don’t have to break a sweat in order to derive some benefit.

• Instead of taking the elevator, walk up a couple of flights of stairs.

• Stand up and move around while talking on the phone, reading letters, or thinking about a project.

• Suggest to friends that you go for a stroll.

Opportunities abound for us to move our bodies. Put on a record and dance to it. Do some gardening. Deliberately park your car at the far end of a lot so that you have to walk some distance to shop. While waiting for your shower water to get warm or the bathtub to fill, do some push-ups or jumping jacks. If you enjoy jogging, or doing aerobic exercises, or if you can take twenty to forty minute brisk walks a few times a week, so much the better, but if not, even three to five minutes of movement or activity is better than none.

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Research data show that even moderate physical activity such as walking elevates the metabolic rate and has many health benefits. The key is to think in terms of “activity minutes.” What activity can I engage in rather than spend the time simply sitting around? Now we are certainly not recommending that you become obsessed about being active because rest and relaxation also have a definite place in a physical and mental health regimen. But if any of us errs, it will be on the side of too little movement and too much inactivity.

• So turn off the TV, stand up, stretch, go out the door and move around a bit.There is no need to think of fitness in terms of dread and drudgery. Those who enjoy vigorous workouts will benefit from them, but if you hate working out, forget it. Simply inserting ongoing activity as we have described can be very beneficial.

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Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus is a licensed psychologist, Co-founder and Clinical Director of The Lazarus Institute. In addition to his general psychotherapy practice, Dr. Clifford Lazarus specializes in health and neuropsychology.

Dr. Clifford Lazarus received his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University where he was a Henry Rutgers Research Scholar.  Seen here are excerpts from one of his books, The 60-Second Shrink – 101 Strategies For Staying Sane In a Crazy World, a book, he co-authored with his father “One of the ten most influential psychotherapists in America”  Arnold A. Lazarus, Ph.D.  For more details on Dr. Clifford Lazarus visit this link to The Lazarus Institute.  Or visit his page here on friendlysuggestions.com.

Books available at Amazon by Arnold and Clifford Lazarus

Direct links to two highly recommended books by Dr. Clifford Lazarus & Dr. Arnold A. Lazarus:

The 60-Second Shrink: 101 Strategies for Staying Sane in a Crazy World 

Don’t Believe It for a Minute!: Forty Toxic Ideas That Are Driving You Crazy

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