I still don’t know how my wife did it. She was mom to six children, whom she homeschooled three days a week for years. At the same time she was also the administrator the other two days at a school, for homeschoolers, she started with a friend. That school had 150 children and a paid staff of a couple dozen teachers. It was a great hybrid opportunity for families who wanted to homeschool, but also wanted a classroom setting for their kids a couple days a week.
It was during this season of her life that Ava started running. She says it helped her keep the crazy away.
Our kids are grown and have moved on with their own lives. Ava is no longer running the school, but she is still running. It remains Ava’s primary way to cope with stress including her recent battle through breast cancer.
Life is stressful. And, stress is dangerous.
Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. Stress can compromise your immune system, impact your digestive system, and make it harder to control your weight. Other illnesses, including cancer, have also been linked to stress. Headaches, anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness can all be rooted in stress. And, there’s new research that is showing us stress can shorten your life.
Esther Dyson knows a thing or two about stress. She’s an active investor and board member of several start-up companies in health care, genetics, and aviation. She’s part of several non-profits and she’s a writer. Esther is almost 70 years old. That’s a season when most of us have already pushed cruise control. Not Esther. She keeps saying, “Bring it on!”
Esther also swims every day. She recently told the Wall Street Journal that daily swim keeps her sane and balanced.
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to fight the dangers of stress. Exercise lowers cortisol and adrenaline which are the chemicals your body creates when life is stressful. Exercise also raises endorphins which are the feel good chemicals your body produces.
This is an instant benefit of exercise. We can get discouraged because the results of exercise take so long, but not this one. Exercise counteracts stress RIGHT NOW!
Bob Iger is the Executive Chairman of the Walt Disney Company. For 15 years he was the CEO. Imagine the stress that job carried. Bob was responsible for everything…the theme parks, movies, TV, and ancillary businesses. But, more than that he carried the weight of 223,000 employees and their families. Their paycheck depended on Bob’s leadership. That’s a lot of stress.
Every morning, Bob Iger spends 45 minutes on a VersaClimber. That’s a machine that allows you to simulate a vertical climb up a ladder. It’s an intense workout and Bob is nearly 70 years old. He’s also had knee replacement surgery which makes his workout even more challenging.
We all understand “challenging” these days. Life is more stressful than usual with a pandemic, economic impact, and social unrest. The stress has been relentless.
Harry S Truman
President Harry Truman knew what it was like to have relentless stress thrust on you suddenly. On April 12, 1945 President Franklin Roosevelt died. Harry Truman had been vice president for only three months. And, during that time President Roosevelt rarely included Vice President Truman in the decision making process.
After he was sworn in, Eleanor Roosevelt asked now President Truman if there was anything “we can do for you? For you are the one on trouble now.”
Years earlier Harry Truman made exercise a regular part of his life. Every morning he walked two miles at a pretty good clip of 120 paces a minute. He started this routine while he was a US Senator and kept at it even after he became Vice President and then President.
Walking as president is a little more complicated since he had security with him at all times and even occasionally member of the press following along asking questions. But, President Truman didn’t let any of that slow him down.
Mr. Truman said those daily walks while he was president helped him organize his thoughts and the many decisions that were on his desk. Those walks also helped him manage the stress of life. Harry Truman lived to age 88. There’s no way to directly link his daily walks to his long life, but research indicates his daily exercise contributed to lower stress and better health.
3030 for 2020
2020 has given us more than enough stress. Thankfully exercise is an effective remedy. While any exercise will do, walking is ideal for lowering stress and restoring a measure of calm.
It is flexible enough that you can walk just about anywhere and at any time. It’s also flexible enough to fit your idea of what’s fun. Maybe a walk through the neighborhood is what you like. Perhaps you prefer a walk at the park or in the woods. If the beach is your thing or you enjoy walking around a busy city both of those are options. Or maybe you’re happy walking on a treadmill.
Walking can reduce your stress level which is why you should see if 3030 can make 2020 better. Commit to taking a 30 minute walk every day for 30 days and see if it doesn’t help. It’s called The 3030 Challenge.
You pick when and where to walk every day. Walk with someone else or walk alone. Listen to music or podcast or simply soak in the sounds of your environment. And, autumn is such a beautiful time of year with cooler temperature and leaves changing in much of the country.
What that 30 minute walk looks like is totally up to you. The important thing is to invest 30 minutes every day to reduce your stress.
And, if 2020 derailed your fitness, The 3030 Challenge might be just what you need to restart. Download this free guide for The 3030 Challenge to help you track your daily progress. It’ll also serve as a visible reminder that you have decided to retake control of 2020.
If you don’t have a Fitbit I recommend the brand new Fitbit Inspire 2! The Inspire 2 has double the battery life, and also tracks your heart rate and sleep so you get an even wider picture of your fitness progress.
(By the way…if you use the link above to but a Fitbit Inspire HR this blog will receive a small commission. It won’t add anything to what you pay, but letting you know is the right thing to do)
Lastly, this blog is designed to help you embrace walking as a fitness activity. It’s sustainable, flexible, effective, and fun. Every week I post new articles with stories and helpful suggestions.
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