Although eating a balance diet of real, whole food is crucial to your health, I have always believed that incorporating regular physical activity into your life is a must! We have become a progressively more and more sedentary society; whether it’s our desk jobs, our car culture or just the fact that many kids would rather sit playing video games rather than ride their bikes or play kickball. Many of us spend much of our day sitting. Our bodies were meant to move and studies have shown how not only has our sedentary lifestyle increased out waistlines, it also has other detrimental effects on our bodies.
I know for a lot of people the idea of “working out” is about as appealing as watching paint dry, but I think it’s our perception of what that means that is actually unappealing. A health coach gave me some wonderful advice not too long ago – she said to stop calling it “working out!” Who wants to do work? Particularly after a long day at your actual work! It just sounds so awful and unpleasant – who needs one more thing on their ever-growing list of things to do? And for a lot of people that is what exercise is…checking that box of 30 minutes a day so I don’t feel guilty eating that cookie.
She recommended calling it “movement” – to make sure you have daily movement...whatever that means for you and it’s different for everyone! Doesn’t movement sound so much more approachable, attainable and pleasant? Dancers “move.” So what moves you?? It may take some time to figure that out, but I am amazed at the things I have tried, thinking I would hate it and ended up loving it! The first spinning class I ever took I was miserable – my butt killed me for days and I felt like I was dying the entire time. I completely abandoned it! Then years later I attempted it again and now I am addicted! It really took the right instructor and getting my bike set up correctly (and abandoning the idea that everyone in the class was more fit than I and they were all going to be staring at the loser newbie the entire time…new flash: even fit people are working their butts off and no one is paying any attention to anyone else!)
I also think we have to stop comparing ourselves to others and the vision of what fitness looks like. That you need to do 3 days of cardio and 2 days of strength training, with a couple sessions of yoga for rest days, etc. I have always been in awe of people who are runners. I love the idea of being outside and living in my hood there is this amazing jogging path right along the river. I have always wanted to be one of those people out there running on a cool crisp morning. Somehow no matter how hard I try (and I have tried..and tried…and tried…all the way to a freakin’ stress fracture in my foot that laid me up for months!), running for me is like putting a square peg in a round hole! I like the "idea" of running, but my body hates me for even trying; it takes about 2 miles before I feel like I don’t want to die, then I have about a good mile that I feel pretty good, then just as my breathing is settling in and am starting to feel that elusive “runner’s high” then my knees and ankles ache and I am done. For years I have tortured myself and wondered how this 70 year old man in my hood, who races by me every morning, is barely breaking a sweat and I can’t jog a few miles without wanting to die. What the hell is wrong with me?? I am good shape…how can't I not do this?? However, I have come to the conclusion (and this is very hard for my ultra type-A mentality to admit), but some things are just not meant to be and I am just not meant to be a runner. I have the occasional burst of energy when I am out doing a power walk and I have the urge to break into a sprint, so I go for it. Those moments are rare, but that makes my day!
I am a true believe that you need to really move and sweat - not just to maintain your weight, but because it is good for us! And getting those endorphins going is the best high ever. It decreases your stress, improves your mood and just makes you feel good about yourself. I still have days that I just want to go home and sit on my couch…it takes all the effort I can muster to get those sneakers on. And I can’t say I always love it, but I remember how amazing I always feel after and that is what always rallies me to go. There are plenty of ways to get your move on and luckily I have found several that I love! I encourage you to go find yours!