For many of us, the thought of exercise is one of dread. For others it's a good intention that goes nowhere. And then there are those who revel at the thought of a nice run after work or hitting the gym first thing in the morning. How can we be so different and more importantly, how can those of us who dread the thought learn to love exercise?
I'm definitely not an expert on exercise, but I do have experience as both a lover and a hater. Years ago when I was in my mid-forties, I was an aerobics instructor and participated in a couple of weight-lifting competitions. It was fun and I enjoyed being a gym-rat.
All that changed after we moved to our current location 20 years ago. I tried staying with the gym thing, but I couldn't make it last. I tried different gyms along with different workouts, but the only consistency for me was my uncanny ability to find an excuse for not going. Sadly, I can say that I have wasted thousands of dollars in gym fees.
We all know that sitting or standing all day is hard on the body. In order for the body to function properly we need to get a sweat going, get the heart pumping, move our joints, and stretch our muscles. In short, bodies need to move. So how do we get from knowing it to doing it?
What I have come to realize for myself is that it wasn't so much the exercise that got me to the gym, it was the camaraderie - finding others who had similar interests motivated me. I also have learned that walking, being out in nature, nourishes much more than being in the gym. But that's me. You may feel that the gym is where you'll find the most variety, where you bump into friends, or where you can go do your thing and leave, especially on a rainy or snowy day.
So I've put together some questions to think about that may help you understand where your blocks are and get you started on the road to bringing exercise into your life.
Perhaps having an exercise buddy would be helpful for you. I know for myself when I walk with a friend, I can walk longer and do hills that I would never even attempt on my own. We get so busy talking that the climb is over in no time!
Sometimes exercise is the goal and sometimes its a means to a goal. If you have an understanding as to why it's important to you in the first place, then that may help you find pleasure in the experience. When an experience is pleasurable, it will call to you and you'll forget about the should's and say "I'm going to exercise because I want to!"