I am one of those rare people who absolutely love exercise. When I wake in the morning some of my first thoughts are of my workout for the day. I look forward to hitting the gym. I relish and am even grateful for the opportunity to move my body and get stronger. When my workout is over I actually feel a bit depressed.
Now I realize such sentiments are not typical. In fact, they are unusual and may even be considered bizarre. Voluntarily putting one’s body through muscular and respiratory distress is something most people begrudgingly tolerate and would honestly rather avoid. Exercise takes time out of a busy day. It’s sweaty and messy. Worst of all, it’s comfortable and downright painful at times.
So it is conceivable that motivation could be troublesome. As a personal trainer I hear how much people “don’t feel like it” more often than I care to mention. My clients pay me to help them eat better, get muscles, and lose weight. Many of them honestly NEED to make these changes for critical health reasons. Even with a powerful “why” motivation is still hard to come by. The day to day tasks of life seem more pressing and important. The pain, time and inconvenience of training cause it to fall to the bottom of the “to do” list. It’s just not a good day, time, etc….. Workout cancelled.
The problem with this approach to exercise is that it’s seriously short-sighted. And just plain wrong, Regular exercise is not an OPTIONAL activity to be put aside if something more “important” comes up or delayed until it’s totally convenient. THE HUMAN BODY REQUIRES MOVEMENT. If the body does not move often enoughdisease and dysfunction result (heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, osteoporosis). Longevity is threatened. Quality of life is diminished. Regular exercise is a HEALTH PRIORITY up there with food and sleep. Not optional. Not extra. Not negotiable.
I could understand the lack of motivation and avoidance better if the barriers were more formidable. However, the truth is that it is easier than ever to create and execute a functional exercise routine. There are a myriad of options from full service gyms to Crossfit to in-home training. You can hire a personal trainer, try an exercise app, or use internet resources to guide you. You can spend a lot of money or just a little (a jump rope and a couple weights are a great start). Walking, the simplest form of exercise, is actually one of the best for weight loss and health benefits. It takes no money or equipment at all. So the what and the where of exercise should really never be an issue.
Mindset. That is the root issue. We need to change our inner game. Shift our perspective away from thinking of a daily workout as something expendable and, instead, consider it absolutely essential. Think about this for a moment. Is your health really expendable? Are your joints and muscles unimportant? Is it not that big a deal to have the energy and breath to do the things you need and want to do? Is physical weakness acceptable? Are you cool with the nursing home thing down the line? Sounds ridiculous, right?
So let’s quit playing. around and make a serious shift. The shift you can make is that your walk, run or workout is a non-negotiable priority. Commit to a workout time each day and schedule it on youriphone, ipad, or whatever. Set an alarm to remind you to get ready for this important event. Don’t let the other demands of the day creep in and cause you to break the appointment with yourself to train. Treat your workout like you would any other obligation in your day. Protect it vigorously.
And when it comes time to actually do your workout, completely IGNORE your feelings. Don’t listen to the negative voices in your head. It doesn’t matter how you feel or what else is going on in your life.. You do want to have good health. You do want to be lean and strong. You do want to have more energy. You really would like to feel better. So what if you aren’t in the mood right now or you have a thousand other things to do today? I can almost guarantee you will be proud and satisfied with yourself when your workout is over. That other stuff will still get done.
Please stop fooling yourself about the importance of exercise. Take full ownership of your body. It’s the only one you are gonna get. If you don’t start moving it now then you might not have the choice when you get older. None of us has forever to change or to live. Give your body it the movement it needs to be healthy and to take you wherever you want to go in this big beautiful world.