Our nation is obsessed with cardio. I spoke with a friend who said "I'm back on track after being off for a couple weeks so I did two classes yesterday and one today". Another friend who was talking about "wanting" to run with a look of complete despair and no signs of actual desire. When something in your life prompts you to lose weight or to live healthier you probably instantly think of walking, hopping on the treadmill, or starting with the elliptical. I'm here to fill you in on a life changing secret: it's time to put cardio and weight loss on the back burner. 

Focusing on weight loss is actually hindering you from reaching your goals. The scale changes your perception, the way you make decisions, and your emotions. Think about why you actually want to lose weight: to fit into your clothes, to not be out of breath, to play with your kids/grandkids, to travel without concern, to feel confident, to feel good, to live the depth of your life. The weight loss isn't the goal. The number on the scale doesn't matter. My question to you is this: if you felt good in your clothes, you jumped out of bed every morning and ran every stair you came across; if you were confident and lighthearted; if you could travel without concern and play with the best of them... would it matter how much you weighed? Focus on all of the things that do matter and put the scale away... or in the trash. 

Cardio put simply is just cardiovascular exercise. Aerobic exercise is simply relating to or denoting exercise that improves or is intended to improve the efficiency of the body's absorbing and transporting oxygen. Your cardiovascular system consists of your heart and blood vessels; it's the entire system that circulates blood and lymph through the body. So if you stand up right now and bounce on your toes for one minute you will have done cardio, you will have moved blood and lymph around to promote a healthier circulatory system. So why do we think we have to go walk, run, or elliptical ourselves into the ground? 

Every intentional movement is going to help improve your cardiovascular system. Every intentional movement is going to move you closer to the big picture goals. The moment you decide to focus on intentional movement, making every movement count towards your strength and vitality, you'll find yourself free of burden of being "on track". You'll never again have to talk about working out or running with a look of complete despair as if it were a punishment. 

Strapping on your shoes and going for a one hour hike will do more for your body and heart (literally and figuratively) than slaving away on a treadmill or elliptical for an entire week. Starting with a couple pushups and squats a day will propel you straight into your goals at a rate so much faster than hitting the treadmill that you will be ecstatic to keep going. When you think about intentional movement think about moving in a way that will make your everyday life easier. Hiking in the grass and through different terrains will not only improve your mental health but it will make your daily stairs seem like a walk in the park. Squats and pushups will make all those back aching chores or sitting at a desk feel like a breeze (back pain free). Stretching, dancing, shaking it off (literally), are all ways of moving and they're all considered working out and cardio. Every intentional movement will build strength and vitality... and it doesn't all have to be done through hours of running, jumping, or vomit inducing moves.

Put all of your energy towards feeling better, being happier, and living healthier and you just may find that you lost some weight as a byproduct. 

Sweat & Smiles,

Melissa

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