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Health-Based Coaching: The Many Dimensions

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Exercise

When we turn to exercise, we focus on the way in which we engage our world. We know that brain functions shift when we are moving through an environment and when our visual field is changing (as a result of this movement). We also know that muscular activities activate other mental and bodily functions. Just standing at a desk rather than sitting makes a difference with regard to our mental and physical state (as media commercials are now telling us in the promotion of standing desks).

The key point, however, concerns the matter of confronting stress and trauma. As in the case of nutrition, we all know that exercise is important to our health. It is only a matter of setting this as a higher priority. One way to invite more attention to this way of using the external environment for our benefit is to re-invoke the lion!!  When we run away from the lion, we are making use of the energy that has been generated for the chase. Unfortunately, we often are too weak or too slow to out-dual the lion (unless we are Tarzan) or outrun the lion (unless we are a Marvel comic character). As a result, we tend to choose the option that is selected by most other week and slow animals (such as small rodents): we freeze in place and hope that the lion will not recognize that we are nearby.  Unfortunately, we haven’t learned from the rodents much about what we do after we have been frozen in place for several minutes (with the lion moving on after ignoring us or neglecting to see us).

The rodent will begin shaking and shivering—a valuable way in which to burn off the accumulated and blocked (frozen) energy that was generated for the unwise (and bypassed) flight or fight. As very stupid human beings we tend to stay frozen for a much longer period of time (not being able to determine when the imagined lion has moved on). Then we go back to work or try to find ways that will avoid our lion in the future. We do nothing to burn off the accumulated energy. We don’t exercise. And the unspent energy (adrenaline and related hormones) will be quite mischievous—working in a very destructive manner on all of our bodily and mental functions. So, as weak and slow human beings we must exercise. As health-based coaches we can help our clients identify ways that they can fit exercise into their busy life and ways in which they can determine which type(s) of exercise are of greatest benefit (and most enjoyable).

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