Are you one of those who simply can’t fathom that people would leap out of bed to go for a run or hit the gym first thing in the morning? Do you break into a cold sweat at the thought of, well, breaking a sweat? You aren’t alone.
We all know the facts – there is an obesity epidemic, sitting too much is literally killing us, we need exercise for healthy aging and to help with everything from stress management to staying mentally acute. Still, getting enough movement into our days can seem like an unconquerable task.
If your notions of exercise begin and end with gym class humiliations, maybe it will help you change your mindset to revisit and revise some of the myths about exercise.
No Pain, No Gain? It Couldn’t Be Further From Truth
Have you had a gym teacher or coach, or even a well-meaning friend, bark this at you? It suggests that exercise that doesn’t make you sore isn’t doing you any good. No wonder you don’t want to work out – who wants to go looking for pain?
Exercise can and should be something fun to do, and while working out to the point of soreness can be helpful if you are trying hard to build strength or endurance, it isn’t necessary for basic health. Hate running? Well, don’t do that one. There are all kinds of ways to get moving. Think back to the things you loved as a kid – riding a bicycle? Swimming in a pool? Try rediscovering those.
If you like walking but live somewhere with too much traffic or no sidewalks, look for a local rails-to-trails path. These are free of motor vehicles and perfect for bike riders, runners, and walkers. Moreover, since they are converted from railroad tracks, and trains can’t climb up steep grades, if there are any hills they are very gradual rises. You don’t have to hurt and you don’t even really need to sweat.
Exercise Takes Too Much Time? Not Necessarily…
You may have a vision of having to put in hours in the gym, perhaps getting up at some ungodly hour to get your exercise. Not true! The current guidelines call for getting 70 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week (that means getting your pulse rate to a point where you breathe hard and find it hard to talk), or 150 minutes of moderate exercise ( an exercise you can do while still be able to have a conversation). You can also do a combination of both.
That sounds like a lot, right? 150 minutes is over two hours. But spread out over a week, that’s just 20 minutes per day over seven days, or 30 minutes per day if you get exercise five days and take two off.
Even better, you don’t have to do it all in one chunk. Two 10-minute walks at a reasonably brisk pace get your 20 minutes in. If you work in a big enough location like a hospital or large office building, you can knock that out without even stepping outside!
Exercise is Boring? But It Doesn’t Have To Be.
If you take up walking, do it with a friend and combine it with a conversation you would otherwise have on the phone or via text. Or use the time to listen to an audiobook or a favorite podcast. Find an engrossing book with a suspenseful, active plot and make a rule that you can only listen to it while you are exercising – you may find yourself putting in an extra few minutes just to find out what happens next.
If you like playing games, there are games that can help you get some exercise in. The Nintendo Wii is not popular like it was a decade ago, but there are plenty of machines out there that are cheap to come by, and tons of popular games that you should also be able to find easily and without spending a ton of money. Look for specific exercise-friendly games such as Zumba or the Let’s Dance series.
Another game that has peaked in popularity but is still plenty challenging and fun is Pokemon Go. You won’t find the crowds that were flocking when the game first came out but seeing how many Pokemon you can bag while you walk your neighborhood can help keep you moving. If you do want to work up to running, there are a number of zombie games for your smartphone that require you to maintain a certain speed and distance or the zombies catch you. As your speed and endurance improves, you have to a bit more to stay out of the zombies’ grasp. It’s a fun challenge that keeps you from getting bored and remembering that you hate exercise.
Closing Thoughts And An Alternative…
How about exercising during holidays? Ever thought about combining your holidays with a fitness retreat or a weight loss retreat? Imagine spending 15 days at the exotic Phuket Island in Thailand, sunbathing at the magnificent scenery tropical beaches while following an intense daily exercise schedule. If that sounds interesting, browse around our website and you will be excited…
Exercise doesn’t have to be a terrible chore that you force yourself to do, or worse, something you avoid all together to the detriment of your health and wellness. Do it gently, do it for just a little bit each day, and do something to make it fun for you, and you will be on the right track before you know it.