Talking Yourself Out of Exercise
Exercise is a tough topic to talk about. People who love it can be intense. Their heartfelt attempts to inspire tend to alienate us. People who don’t love exercise often wrestle with reasons why it’s not for them. Back in the day I had a nice list going. Highlights included:
Almost striking out at tee ball. Really.
Prompting my high school tennis team to terminate its “take anyone” policy. Yes, my tennis career ended too.
Sort of winning only 1 field day ribbon ever. 6th place in the 50-yard dash. 6 participants.
Choose How You View Exercise
This all happened before I was 15 but I carried the memories right along with my sedentary self into adulthood. My “can’t exercise” story didn’t budge until I took a required gym class my last semester of college. I dreaded the class, wondering how I’d be humiliated. I was surprised to find an instructor who empowered us to approach fitness on our own terms. We focused on our individual performance instead of comparing ourselves to others. I actually started to accept my body and work with it.
I finished that class with a balanced physical and mental practice that I continue to this day. It wasn’t a magical transition. It took focus and effort. Still does, actually. I don’t always feel like doing it. (I’m currently an hour late for today’s walk…) Through the ups and downs I feel great as I try to do my best for my body and mind.
Help Yourself and Others
Is exercise currently a challenge for you? If so, could you note some of the reasons and consider them further? In the meantime, could you fit in more walking? Maybe 5-10 minutes here and there? Pace doesn’t matter. Distance doesn’t either. If it motivates you, track the time spent and/or your steps each day. Most smartphones have a step app or you can download a free one like Map My Walk. If this sounds too complicated, don’t do it. Just walk or move as you can throughout the day.
If you currently exercise, consider helping someone new by meeting them where they’re at. Seek to understand their needs, create the right path and stick with them. Remember what worked when you were new. That might help too.
The reasons not to exercise often obscure the value and simplicity of just taking those first steps. Sure, we should honor the barriers and work through them. But can’t we take a nice walk as part of the process?
“Well-being is realized by small steps, but is truly no small thing.”