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Friday, December 12, 2014

A French Girl Friday Post... L'Exercise

Movement does a body good

I am sitting here in my pajamas , sipping hot tea, and nursing a cold , so needless to say I have not gotten out and exercised, well past going from the couch to the kitchen for another cup of tea with honey. When I am stuck at home, I truly miss my daily walk. My walks are more than just exercise for my body, a way to burn off calories and maintain my weight, but also a way to clear the cob webs so to say out of my mind. It is easy and cheap and works for me. Turns out it works for the French as well. They know the benefits of walking everywhere, and how it can help keep their weight in a range that works for them. You will not see them running, in the park, though you may see them stretching, for the most part they are strolling and like how they take their time and savor their food, they do the same with their form of exercise.  In chapter nine ( Neuf ) in the book The French Twist by Carol Cottrill it is all about exercise and the difference between how we as Americans handle it opposed to the French. 

The true purpose of exercise is to invigorate and 
strengthen us in body, mind, and spirit.
~ Deepak Chopra "Overcoming Addictions" 

I have always exercised, there was a time that I was a total gym rat..... now that does not even sounds appealing, at least to me. I was addicted to working out on and off through my life, not in a healthy way and yes, I lost weight, and I was really toned and looked good, but I do not think I was all that healthy. I know I was not happy, not like some who love to work out just for the sake of it, like my daughter or a few friends that I have that are runners, I felt like I had to and that if I did not work out like a mad woman that I would suddenly blow up like a balloon and not fit into my clothing. On top of exercising like crazy I was cutting calories and watching every bite that I put in my mouth, not really enjoying what I ate and in fact really hating meal times because I was eating nothing but what I was "supposed" to eat. Then my Fibromyalgia , which I guess had always been with me in one form or another and I just did not know what aches and pains were from over exercise and which were from the Fibro, well it got worse and I could no longer exercise as I once had. There were a lot of times when simply walking, completing simple tasks such as going to get the mail wore me out. I was never going to walk through the doors of a gym again, not because I probably could not over come the Fibro to an extent, I have many friends with the same issues as myself that have worked hard to maintain or get back to the level of exercise they were once at, movement, exercise in general is really good for us with Fibro, even if it hurts, you work through the pain, and actually after a while it helps for you to hurt less. Anyway,  I got off on a rabbit trail there, my point was that even though I was a recovering gym addict, I knew the importance of exercising, even if it did not help me loose or maintain weight, I had to keep moving. Lucky me. Slowing down, cutting back, and simply just walking , even just 3-4 times a week was enough. In reading chapter nine, this is something that the author discovered as well. 

Within the first few pages Carol describes her history with exercise, and her eating habits that she combined with  as well as the stories from others she came in contact with and clients that she has had within her own private practice as a nutritionist and her realization that one does not have to "kill" themselves working out to reach and maintain a healthy weight, that we once again can take a page out of the French handbook and slow it down, dial it back and enjoy something that  is good for us.  Carol also of course as always goes over the benefits of what the chapter is about, in this case, exercise, things such as how just simply walking improves a better memory and a stronger brain and how it can still strengthen the bones as we age. In just a few short pages, she builds a very strong case, but then I did not need to be convinced, but it was nice to have my choice of exercise confirmed.  I guess I have always had a little bit of the French attitude within me, especially about exercise, I just had to find it and bring it out. You can do it too, it is as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.

" ...the French took their exercise as a way of 
saluting the day.... " The French Twist by Carol Cottrill 

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