Exercise - What's Your Excuse?

Exercise - What's Your Excuse?

When living with Arthritis, exercise is part of your treatment.

Recently, I’ve been wondering why we tend to make excuses about doing the very things that are good for us. Eating healthy foods, drinking lots of water, and exercise – the basics of a healthy life. Yet, we will often find all kinds of reasons NOT to do these things.

Somehow, eating that extra cookie, or drinking diet soda feels easy and more habitual than making other choices. I don’t think it’s the activity that we need to focus on, but how we think about it.

You are in charge of your brain and your thoughts. You can think yourself into illness, just as easily as thinking yourself into health. Sure, sure…I know, you have arthritis. So do millions of others. That is a condition, not an identity. Your sense of identity is how you think about yourself. When you start to confuse your condition for your identity, it’s easy to get down on life. Soon, depression creeps in, you find yourself feeling negative. Toxins start in the brain just as they can in the gut.

Today, though – I wanted to focus on exercise.

When you’re young and fit, exercise, sports, and general levels of activity are an important and enjoyable part of life – well, for most. You don’t think about whether you should play soccer, or go skiing, or even work out at the gym. Fast forward 50 years or so, and suddenly, you find yourself thinking about your level of activity a lot more.

Here’s the problem. For those of us with arthritis, we often stress about whether we could do further damage to our already sore, stiff bodies. The default tends to be toward rest, not activity. Yet activity in the form of light and regular exercise, is exactly what our joints (and muscles) need. We were created to be in motion. Resting too much actually harms the body – because it goes against God’s natural design for us.

Worst of all, when you don’t regularly stay in motion, you find it more and more difficult. That’s because your body weakens and after a length of time, muscles even atrophy. If you’ve had a knee replacement, for example, you may already have seen how quickly the muscles in the affected leg get weak and even shrink in size, compared with the other leg.

In a recent article on Health Harvard – the importance of exercise for those of you with osteoarthritis is very well explained – read more here.

Your muscles, tendons, joints – stay healthy when they are regularly moved and challenged. Being in motion as well as doing resistance and weight bearing activity is a well-rounded approach to good health. It’s not just about the joints suffering from arthritis. Those joints are surrounded by muscle and soft tissue that support the joint. Treat the symptoms of arthritis with supplements, including Haraka, and add in regular exercise – and your life is likely to be much healthier – and more fun!

Here are just some tips to help keep you on track to develop healthy exercise habits:

Make it fun

Nobody wants to just grit their teeth and push through doing something you know is good for you, but that you hate! The variety of exercise options makes it possible for you to find something you truly enjoy. Maybe it’s yoga with friends. Or walking your dog in beautiful parks. Or playing a round of golf. Whatever brings you joy – put that into your routine. Even something as simple as swinging at a local park – can put a smile on your face.

Change up Your Routine

Changing up when you exercise as well as how you exercise will keep things feeling fun. If you get in a rut you will get bored. Keep your activities varied and the days, or times of day varied too, as much as you can. When it comes to specific types of exercise, this great article gives you a good idea of different types of exercise. Remember to add muscle strengthening and toning to your cardio exercise to give the body the best of both worlds – strength and fitness.

Start each day with the anticipation of a new activity that’s fun!

Do it with a friend

When you exercise with a friend – you get two powerful hormones increasing in your body – dopamine and endorphins. Dopamine is sometimes called the “happy hormone.” When you are with someone you like, love, and enjoy being with – your brain will secrete dopamine. It is a hormone that immediately lifts your spirits. Endorphins are also hormones and they are produced to help relieve pain, reduce stress, and improve mood. Moderately strenuous exercise increases the body’s production of endorphins.

So, next time you’re lacing up your walking shoes – call a friend to join you!

Make it a daily habit

If you make a chore out of exercise – complain about it, avoid it, procrastinate it…it will never be enjoyable. I have found that when I make 30-60 minutes of exercise just part of my normal routine, I spend less time thinking that I have to do it, and more time on what I plan to do for that day’s movement. Life will fit in around your exercise, when you’ve made it a daily gabit.

As you make time to exercise, you will quickly have more energy to do everything else you love to do. That’s how you truly reclaim your limber life!

Set new goals for yourself

Hear me on this. Goals are not designed to make you feel guilty if you don’t achieve them. Goals are to give you a purpose and direction. As I spoke about earlier – your brain drives your behavior. You set goals in your brain. Create small goals at first. The act of achieving a goal also increases dopamine in the moment, and that feeling of momentum soon kicks in. If you did 5 minutes of a new dance routine today, how about seeing if you can do 8 minutes the next time, for example.

In the corporate world, they use a term, “what gets measured gets done.” It applies to lifestyle management, too. When setting exercise goals, while taking increased responsibility for your lifestyle, write things down.  Measure how much time you spent doing each activity and how strenuous it was. Measure your water intake. Measure your heart rate. Whatever you choose to measure as your health, and specifically exercise, benchmarks – do that. Nothing fancy – just a simple notebook will do! You also don’t need to share them with anyone. But that one day may come when you achieve a major milestone, and it will be hard not to tell someone!

What your first step – your first goal? Write it down and then go do it! Your future self will thank you!


Getting back into a routine of healthy movement is one of the best gifts you can give your body.

That’s a wrap for now – get healthy, get moving, and here’s to your limber life!








Back to blog