by Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH
20 years ago I hated exercise. I thought it was boring, inconvenient, time consuming and exhausting. Then a friend took me to her yoga class and it made all the difference in the world. Suddenly I liked exercise, I made time for it, I looked forward to it and thoroughly enjoyed it. Exercise brought me great gifts: a slimmer body, more energy, better sleep and an improved outlook on life. Who knew?
If you’re not exercising now please consider what excuses you might be making and have a look at solutions you may want to incorporate into your 2014 regime. Take it from someone who boycotted exercise, had a heart attack and now boasts of having been able to reverse heart disease through diet and exercise. If you are thinking:
1) I don’t have time to exercise.
This is actually a myth, not an excuse. We all have time. In an average lifetime (78.6 years) we have 683,806 hours to spend. It’s simply a matter of distribution. Start with 10 minutes a day and work your way up to more. Close your door and jump rope for ten minutes; run in place; do aerobics, practice Tai Ch’i. You can spare ten minutes, you really can. Just try it. Here are some ten minute exercise links you can use:
2) I’m too tired.
Well of course you are. You work hard, you tend to the needs of others and by the end of the day you’re burnt out. If you believe that, then it’s true. However, if you get up a half an hour earlier (which means you should go to bed half an hour earlier) get a workout in and start your day with more energy. TiVo exercise routines from television; purchase a workout video, download workouts from your phone, get an app for exercise. Here are free links with routines to follow:
- and my favorite: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/daily-workouts-free/id469068059?mt=8
3) I hate it; it’s boring.
Sure. Anything we do by rote, without passion, is boring. Remember, we bring the excitement to everything we do. To motivate you and inspire you, look at these benefits: According to the Mayo Clinic:
- Exercise controls weight. Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.
- Exercise combats health conditions and diseases. Regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.
- Exercise improves mood. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
- Exercise boosts energy. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.
- Exercise promotes better sleep. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to fall asleep.
- Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life. Regular physical activity has shown to lead to enhanced arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.
- Exercise can be fun. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting. So, take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. If you get bored, try something new.
- And Finally…..Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any health concerns.
4) I have pain, I can’t.
This can seem like a drawback, but there are many ways to exercise, release the pain and build your strength back. We don’t do that be sitting on the couch and watching TV. We do that by finding gentle movement to do for our bodies and then staying with it until we see and feel the progress. it will come. You will improve and your pain will decrease. See this link: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20436269,00.html
5) I’m too fat.
If this really is holding you back, please read this article which addresses the issue. http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/exercising-when-you-are-overweight Start small, get support and be consistent. You can do this.
6) I don’t have money for a gym.
Please see all of the above links and work out at home. Here’s some expert advice on free memberships you might want to explore. http://www.freegymmemberships.com/
7) Fill in the blank: _____________________.
This is the mystery reason that is holding you back and keeping you from doing what your body wants and needs. Take a moment. Get out a pencil; and paper and write down 5 more reasons why you don’t want to exercise. Then, reduce those to three, then reduce them to two and finally, pick the one reason that keeps you from exercising. If a friend told you this was their reason, what advice would you give them? You’ll have your answer and become your own counselor.
If you have not been persuaded to fit exercise into your life then please, if nothing else, employ these activities:
• Adopt a dog and take it for walks every day.
• Do things the old-fashioned way — get up and change the television channel; open the garage door manually; use a push lawnmower, garden.
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
• Walk briskly whenever you can – and do it for at least a 20 minutes.
• Minimize use of your car; walk to destinations within a mile.
• Use a bicycle to do errands and local transport. (Wear a helmet!)
• Take up tennis or any other game or sport you enjoy.
• Join a sports team, play regularly and enjoy the benefits team play can bring you.
I’m not an exercise freak by any means. I run on my treadmill for a cardio workout every other day. In between times I walk, I do strengthening exercises and keep my body moving as best I can. Exercising has paid off. I feel better, look better and have more energy for fun. You can do the same. Explore the world of exercise, experiment with different varieties, pick one and start your work out. I promise you that you will start feeling better and better each day.