Thursday, July 14, 2011

Exercise: Some Motivation Required

Having a hard time getting motivated to start or restart an exercise regimen?  No time? Too tired? Something else holding you back.

For many people, working out is just not enjoyable. Exercise is sweaty and can be awkward and uncomfortable particularly for the deconditioned or beginner. It involves willing yourself to get through those tough first months, especially when your muscles ache like no tomorrow. It requires making hard decisions to cut out other activities and tasks on the ever growing, never ending "To Do" list. It necessitates saying "no" to certain demands on your time and saying "yes" to improving your health and mental well being. It's hard getting started and it's even harder staying with it.

I could lay out the cold hard facts concerning the numerous health benefits of a consistent exercise regimen, but that's no fun! Plus, I am sure you've heard it all before. Let's just leave it at this: Regular exercise can lead to better health, more energy, longevity and happiness. That's the long and short of it. Easier said than done though, right.

I am going to propose a crazy idea, as follows: It's more than okay to let go and say "no."  Saying "no" is one of the best things you can do for yourself, especially when it comes to your health and well being. There is even a certain release, weight off the shoulders you could say, a freedom in demoting certain tasks. Take a little time to make time to prioritize the most important things and then let those little things go. Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today!

As far as those muscular aches you experience after exercising, as uncomfortable as they may be, think of it as your body doing what it should do- building stronger muscles, stronger bones (as long as it's only an uncomfortable feeling not a sharp, acute pain). You will see and feel the good results of consistent exercise. Things like weight loss (as long as you are controlling your diet as well), muscle tone, strength, coordination, stability, boost in energy and most likely an improvement in mental well being to name a few.

You can even make exercise fun! The best way I have found to do this is by exercising with a friend or friends. It's what I call the girlfriend effect. Get a bunch of women together and amazing things can happen, including a fun, effective and consistent workout routine. If you have kids, get together at each others homes to workout while the kids play. You could even enlist a fitness professional to help make sure your routine is safe, effective and to keep you on target. Working out with a buddy or buddies is rewarding for so many reasons. It's a win-win fitness solution. You keep each other accountable and are each other's best fitness advocate. And let's not discount the cathartic girlfriend small talk. What better way to attain better health than by getting fit, staying fit and enjoying it among friends. If that isn't motivation enough, and you have children, your kids get a play date as well as amazing role models!

So what are you waiting for...pigs to fly (as my beloved grandma would say)?  
You can do this. Now make it happen!

Be active. Be happy!