Making the Fitness Commitment
Our ability to act peacefully is greatly enhanced if we feel good. Taking care of ourselves physically is likely to increase our optimism, open our hearts, and boost our stamina, in addition to establishing and maintaining a trim weight and giving us improved long-term health. The better we feel, the better our chances of being attentive to our own and othersí needs and responding to them positively and mindfully.
In my experience, if we pay attention to diet and exercise, our mental state pretty much takes care of itself. Iíll take up the subject of diet in a future post; today Iíd like to share some thoughts on exercise. I am continually amazed at how much a regular fitness regimen contributes to mental and emotional well-being. I can go into my exercise class feeling so-so, but come out at the end of the hour ready to take on the world! The ďhighĒ lasts for hours. Weight-bearing exercise is also important for building and keeping strong bones, helping us avoid osteoporosis.
From what I have read about societies around the world in which people live long and healthy lives, energetic and even strenuous exercise is common to all of them. The Abkhasian people of central Asia, for example, live in a mountainous area. Even in their 90ís and beyond, they continue to go up and down steep mountain paths in order to tend their herds and visit friends in neighboring villages. And they donít stroll slowly, eitheróWestern researchers in their 40ís couldnít keep up with the elderly Abkhasians! Whenever I feel resistant to exercising, I think of such societies of active elders, and push myself a little more.