Everyone knows that exercise is good for you, but getting unfit people up and working out isn’t so easy. Exercise is hard, it’s work that calls for commitment and effort. In the end, I think something has to “click” in each person to make the effort of getting up and getting started worth it. Once that happens, the good feelings you have, as well as the other changes that come with regular exercise will do the rest.
For me it was a sort of “perfect storm” of events…
1. First there was one week without drinking diet soda
Believe me soda lovers, I was 1,000% against this idea. My mom had heard about how the sugar in soda, even diet varieties, encourages you to eat more sugar overall. While I cringe at the thought of taking advice from morning television, she’s a nurse and knows her stuff. I gave up diet soda for one week as a personal favor to her… I didn’t expect anything to change.
A week, after all, isn’t so long.
Except that within the first day I was enjoying the clean, fresh taste of water. I was looking, and trying, other beverages with fewer preservatives. I settled on Diet Snapple Half Tea & Half Lemonade, conveniently bottled and available everywhere.
I don’t drink, or miss, diet soda anymore. Surprisingly, I don’t crave seem to crave sweets at all, though I certainly don’t deny myself a treat if I want one. Also, I’m noticeably less bloated. Not at all what I was expecting.
2. Exercise became accessible, easily built into my daily routine – with benefits I felt that very first week
Rule one of exercise is you have to find something you genuinely like to do. For me this involves a Sears treadmill moved from a spider infested garage into an accessible but out of the way spot upstairs. Home workouts are perfect for me… no travel, no cost and no chit-chat, labor and delivery/divorce/wayward child stories. Plus I pick the music.
Music is an under-appreciated tool when it comes to workouts. Not only does it get you up and going, it’s a great distraction when you start flagging or doubting yourself. Today’s technology makes it possible to create a playlist with songs you like and play it through your phone… still amazing to those of my generation.
3. What sealed the deal was an unexpected preview of the likely future of the unfit
For me this vision came as an encounter with a charming old man tooling down a campground path in his power chair. Old age is a lot closer than it used to be, and I’ve written enough on health and wellness over the years to know that what you do in these years has a whole lot to do with how you age, and how if your legs go, you go.
I”m not going anywhere. And I certainly don’t want to be in that power chair while everyone else I know is up and around. While I can’t guarantee future good health and mobility — I do have the power to take steps to shift the odds in my favor.
And that’s the thing about exercise. It’s up to YOU to decide it’s time.
Once you do, the benefits of exercise, no matter how small and simple your routine at first, are going to change things in ways you can’t imagine. Workouts are invigorating, sometimes challenging and always leave you smelling like a pig. But the feeling of working your muscles, the benefits of increased blood flow and oxygen to all vital organs, the sweating out of toxins and burning of fat actually feels… good, healthy, like a positive, proactive step only you can take for yourself.
So, if you’re not all that fit, maybe drinking too much regular or diet soda (or other beverages), eating more snacks than you know you should be, think about adding exercise to your routine. I know it’s working for me, not just by how I feel, how productive I am, but also because people around me are asking if I’ve lost weight (I haven’t) because I’m starting to actually look better.
Who’d have thought it?