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Last week, I had the opportunity to speak at the Heart to Start Season 4 kickoff event in Portland (and I also got to run in the legendary Forest Park—what a treat!).
This program, created by cardiologist Dr. James Beckerman, Medical Director of the Center for Prevention and Wellness at the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute, helps train people to run or walk a 5K race in 8 weeks. It offers weekly group interval workouts and a training plan for participants to follow at home.
The program is based on the well-researched truth that exercise is the prescription for reducing risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses. I love this idea. In conjunction with lifestyle changes and good eating, you can actually reduce your risk of having a heart attack. This is a big part of the reason why I do what I do almost every day. I run for long-term, sustainable health and wellness.
Here’s the message that I shared with the wonderful folks that came to hear me speak:
- Our bodies are designed to be move and to be outside. We are built to be physically active. All of us. And to that end, we must love, honor, accept and respect our bodies as they are, while constantly striving for improvement.
- We can only be our authentic selves; it is too physically and emotionally exhausting to try to be something that we are not. When we are not being authentic, our whole selves lose out on life.
- Our physical health and wealth are intrinsically and intimately related to our mental, emotional, and spiritual wealth and health
- Physical fitness is not the exclusive purview of people who look to be physically fit. Get outside, show up for yourself and show your body to the world.
- Keep a journal or a training log, so that you can look back at your progress and say to yourself I DID THAT, or conversely look at yourself critically and say, I NEED TO DO BETTER.
- Know that you will have low points on your journey. You might hallucinate. You might literally run into a cactus. You might suffer from an injury. Life will happen. In fact, you will have really low points in which you will ask yourself “Why am I doing this?” You’ll say to yourself, “I’m not seeing any results.” You’ll wonder why you even bother. You might even doubt your sanity. You will come upon both major and minor obstacles and hurdles on your course. But as I have learned countless times from being on the pavement or on the trail for hour and hours at a time, you have no choice but to overcome the hurdles and/or modify your course. But you must keep moving forward. There is no turning back on your health, on yourself. Let’s continue giving ourselves and others the gift of health and wellness and ultimately and I believe most importantly, the gift of ourselves.
Let’s keep moving forward. In the words of Spain’s Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrims, ULTREYA. Onward.