Years ago I worked as a Behavioral Health Educator. What that means is this: I taught people how to have healthy, active lifestyles based on their eating and exercise habits. Out of all the jobs I've ever had, this one was-by far-my favorite and the most fun! It was exciting to see people-previously unhealthy, lethargic and tied to their next meal-become healthy, energized and educated on eating right.


Initially, as patients came to the institute, I would help them assess their exercise needs. Part of this included noting their current fitness habits.

I'll never forget the afternoon I sat in my office with a new patient. She had meticulously listed every bite of food she'd eaten the previous week in one column and her exercise patterns for the week in another. Imagine my expression when, on her very first day, she'd listed "feeding my cats" as her exercise regimen.


I pressed my lips together to keep from laughing, then excused myself and stepped into the hallway, closing the office door behind me. I walked around the corner where I came face to face with the institute's chief physician. "What's the matter?" he asked me, sensing my "how am I going to address this?" turmoil.

I showed him the entry.


"What kind of cats does she have?" he asked. "Tigers?"


Clearly, this was a patient who knew very little about living the active lifestyle and my work was cut out for me!


The Body Beautiful/Physical


I probably don't have to tell you the benefits of exercise. Books have been written about it. TV shows have been dedicated to it. Talk radio has laid it all out for us. But, for the one or two of you out there who have been living under a rock and haven't heard, here are but a few paybacks of a lifestyle of regular exercise:


1. Exercise increases your chance of weight loss

2. Exercise decreases your chance of heart disease

3. Exercise decreases your chance of stroke

4. Exercise increases stress management

5. Exercise slows the aging process

6. Exercise increases self esteem and confidence

7. Exercise helps you sleep

8. Exercise steps up your immune system

9. Exercise reduces the chance of your contracting various cancers

10. Exercise improves your overall quality of life