To have good energy for exercise it helps to be sure we have good sleep and rest, enjoy regular periods of deep breathing through the day to oxygenate the blood, and eat a diet that includes whole grains for good sources of energy that will encourage a slow and long term supply of glucose to the blood. If we have a good supply of glucose and oxygen we will have the energy we need for our cells to be active.
Once we have more energy, we need to use it in the form of exercise to help the develop the ability to create and use energy. So, the more we exercise and use energy, the better we become at creating energy and the more energy have.
Aerobic cardio exercise improves our fitness, movement and endurance. This form of exercise can be helpful for the health of lungs, heart, circulation, muscles, bones and joints. This type of exercise includes walking, swimming, running, rowing, skiing, cycling and many types of sports. At least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise a day is helpful. A good target might be 2 sessions of 20 minutes.
Resistance exercise is ideal for increasing muscle mass and building up muscles. Greater muscle mass means we can consume more energy quicker, enhancing our means to create energy through breathing, circulation, oxygenation and blood glucose. In the macrobiotic survey we found that greater muscle mass was associated with better digestion and a lower risk of depression. Increasing muscle mass is equally helpful for men and women. Typical examples of resistance exercise are press ups, the plank, squats, abdomen crunches, walking up stairs, movements with free weights, pull ups and isometrics. Try to move slowly and feel the muscles you are using to apply the desired force. 20 minutes is a good starting point for a resistance exercise work out. These should be done either every other day or every third day so the muscles have at least two days to repair between sessions.
As you enjoy your exercise routine you will notice your body respond and this can be helpful for self esteem, self love and feelings of confidence. For myself I try to enjoy a long walk every day with plenty of hills, according to my phone climbing 13 floors of steps a day with daily stretching and movement. I also have a muscle building routine I enjoy two or three times a week and FIlipa and I like to play table tennis. In the past I have also enjoyed swimming, going to the gym, playing football and further into the past playing squash and aikido. For other people it might be dancing, running, tennis, circuit training, hiking or cycling. At first it is normal to experience some muscle pain and resistance, however, as we persevere we start to enjoy the feeling of using the muscles and during the exercise release hormones that generally help us feel happier. Try to commit to at least one month of daily exercise to feel and see the benefits. The spring is a wonderful time to get started as we benefit from the growth and activity in nature.
Wishing you happy exercising and great health, Simon Brown
Simon Brown teaches online macrobiotic courses with Melanie Waxman Brown and Filipa Silva. His next annual macrobiotic health coach training starts on the 2 November 2021.
Simon is the author of Modern Day Macrobiotics and Macrobiotics For Life.
He is an international teacher, studied with Michio and Aveline Kushi, as well as with Shizuko Yamamoto. He has over 40 experience in macrobiotics.