Character Chats

Let’s Talk Exercise

Let’s talk exercise.

Here at True Balance Karate, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, the owner and chief instructor here at the studio. I have two master’s degrees in education and we’ve developed this curriculum to best meet the needs of our youngest student who is three or four, and our oldest student who is 85.


And this month we’re talking about being healthy.

We started off defining what health was in terms of the foods we eat, water, sleep, exercise, relaxation and meditation as being healthy habits that we can put in place. And last week we talked about fueling yourself in a healthy way, making those good healthy choices, having a plate that was colorful, different textures, getting good carbs, good proteins, good fats, our veggies, and then maybe switching soda for water for one of our drinks or drinking more water in the day.

Healthy Exercise

And this week we are talking about exercise, and there’s lots of different viewpoints on exercise. Some people will run for exercise. Some people will ride a bike for exercise. Some people will lift weights for exercise. Some people will do yoga, martial arts, play soccer, play basketball. But the idea is that we are active. We are using our bodies. We are getting in movements. We’re taking walks around the block. We’re getting a little bit of a sweat. We’re raising our heart rate; we’re engaging our brain.

I remember being in high school and step aerobics was starting to become a thing, and the idea of up, up, down, down, and how my brain had to process that allowed me to really enjoy the exercise class because now my brain was involved, and I wasn’t just doing the same thing again and again.

Good Movement

So, as you’re exercising, you’re getting that movement, you’re not just sitting, you’re not just doing nothing. And I talk with parents all the time about, I’m sitting at my desk. Well, how does that turn into movement for you? There’s different things you can do. I had a friend that would set a timer that would go off the last 10 minutes of every hour, and she would walk over to the stairs and go up a flight of stairs and down a flight of stairs, and then she’d go back to work because that gave her a chance to get some movement in.

When I go to the airport instead of sitting in the chairs, I will literally walk up and down the aisles the entire time, up and down the terminal the entire time just because I want to keep moving. And I know I’m about to be sitting for quite a few hours to wherever I might be going. Our kids, they get a lot of exercise. They like to run, they like to jump. They like to be on the playground. They like to get on the swings. They like to go down the slides. They like to play man on wood chips and they like to do all these active things.

Intentional Activity

And I know I’ve shared with you guys before, my daughter’s in college now and my son’s in high school, and it’s not the same. It’s no longer, “Mommy, come play with me. Mommy, come down the slides. Mommy, come run.” It’s different now because he gets his exercise in a different way, she’s off at college. So now I have to decide how I’m going to get movement in my body and in my day. And some of that comes from teaching here. Some of that comes from walking my dogs. Some of that comes from going to the gym.

But, you want to vary it. You want to keep yourself engaged in the activity that you’ve chosen. You want to engage your brain as well as your body when you’re exercising, when you’re moving your body in that healthy way. And it goes in line with what we talked about last week. If you haven’t fueled yourself in a healthy way, you’re not going to be able to move in a healthy way. Drinking enough water gives you enough water in your system so that your joints stay hydrated so that you can move them and they don’t get all creaky and groany. Giving yourself good fruits and veggies and proteins and carbs gives your body the energy it needs for when you choose to exercise.

Purpose of Activity

And all of the movement plays a role in our flexibility, our strength, our ability to just keep going, to get in and out of a boat or on and off a motorcycle or on and off our bicycle or skateboarding or going out and even bowling. You need the movement. You need the flexibility. You need a little bit of the strength. You need all of that.

So however, we’re choosing to be active, we want to make sure that that activity is good for us, that that activity is a healthy want, that that activity is going to engage our brains and is going to help us create relationships with people around us and is going to be a healthy habit that we can sustain. So, that we have a healthy body, we continue to have a healthy mind,. We feel good about the choices that we’re making on a daily basis, and we can continue to move all the way up into that oldest student of ours who’s 85.

Thanks, and I’ll see you on the mat!


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here