How many times have you heard the phrase, “You should lead a more active lifestyle”? From doctors to specialists, family and friends, the guy on the TV, or even from an Optimum Exercise Physiologist? Most people have heard this phrase so often that it has lost all meaning. However, have you ever stopped to really think about the gravity of that statement and how it can impact you? Unfortunately a lot of people fail to grasp the importance of exercise and never reach the ability to incorporate it into their routine. They continue to see exercise as an optional activity.
As soon as something becomes optional, there will always be things taking higher priority. This is the fundamental mistake people make when it comes to changing their lifestyle. Healthy, fit people see exercise as a necessity, not a chore. If you view exercise as something that is too hard, too time consuming, something annoying or undesirable, then you can only force yourself for so long before it fades away and you fall off the wagon. Worse still, there will always be an undertone of negativity associated with exercise.
The difference between active healthy people and unhealthy sedentary people is: that active healthy people do not see stopping as an option, and they enjoy it! You may be thinking, “How can anyone look forward to exercise? I could never see myself like that.” Wrong. You can. It just requires a paradigm shift of the way you view and perceive exercise.
Exercise needs to be viewed as an uplifting lifestyle NOT a boring chore. The human body was not designed to be sedentary, it was designed to move! Just look at all the negative side effects of sitting down too much. Obesity and disease, diabetes, poor posture and joint pain just to name a few.
Those who look forward to exercise view it not as a chore, but as something that enables them, something that allows them to be capable in day to day life. Something that prevents injury and illness, something that will make them live longer. Something that provides them with the ability to enjoy life, not suffer through it! They are walking, talking testaments to the physical, psychological and spiritual benefits that exercise brings to your life.
The biggest hurdle in any journey is the first step – and that applies to making exercise habitual. At first exercise may be uncomfortable. It may be difficult, it may be hard to maintain the routine but, like everything in life, once it is a part of the routine it gets infinitely easier. I have compiled a small list of tips, designed to get you thinking about how you view exercise.
1) Learn the benefits. Exercise is SO much more than weight loss. Educate yourself on other benefits and stop obsessing over the scales!
2) Embrace the challenge. Exercise gives you a chance to escape the daily grind. It gives you a chance to be present. When you begin to find your limit, you may find it uncomfortable. Don’t shy away from this. Embrace it and feel your body adapt and grow over time.
3) Divide and conquer. Change the routine! Don’t get stuck doing the same thing. Play a sport, dance, swim, ride, bushwalk. Variety is the spice of life.
4) Start microscopic. Set small achievable goals. Begin with a light walk, a lap around the park, or one push up. Don’t be overzealous then burn out too quickly.
5) Celebrate everything. Positive change comes in small increments. So notice and take pride in even the smallest improvements.
6) Respect yourself. When the going gets tough, respect yourself. Respect the effort you have put in, and the goals you have set for yourself. Respect your commitment to your health.
7) Think outside the now. When motivation levels are low, take a step back and look at things from afar. Look long term. Think about 5 years from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now. THAT’S where you’re aiming to be. Don’t obsess over how you will feel immediately post-workout, or overthink whether or not to go to the gym.