We’ve all faced times where we lack the motivation to do something which we rationally know is beneficial to us in some way. Exercise seems to be one area of our lives which we feel we can bypass with very little rational reasoning.
One of the worst excuses I’ve heard for living a super-sedentary life is ‘I would… but I don’t like exercise’.
In my opinion, this is less of an excuse and more of a lack of ability to recognise the significance of the problems associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. Essentially what you’re saying is you don’t value the outcome of exercise enough to suck it up and get on with it.
There’s a good chance you don’t like going to work either, but you go because you need what you get in return – your pay. If there was no pay, most of us wouldn’t be doing the same jobs each day and certainly not for the extended periods that we do. We continue to do it because we need to be paid so we can afford to do the other things in life that we do enjoy.
Think of exercise and a healthy diet as the same. If you’re stuck in an unhealthy rut and you want to get out of it then you need to ‘go to work’ in order to get that benefit: the benefit of health. Health is the reward for your efforts in this area in the same way that money is the reward for your efforts in employment.
Besides that, unless you’re willing to try new things, you’ll never stumble across something active that you actually do enjoy.
Your version of exercise doesn’t need to be running, or mindlessly sitting on an exercise bike. If you’re the type of person who feels their soul being dragged from their body the moment you enter a gym (I know plenty of those people), then you need to tap into your creative side.
There’s loads of activities that will get your heart racing and that are fun and definitely don’t feel like ‘exercise’. Yes, including that, you saucy little thing.
Let’s consider some of the more unusual types of exercise:
There’s a load of trampolining centres popping up across the country where you can turn up, put on some grippy socks and leap around like a 6 year old. Not only is this exercise in disguise, it’s also a ridiculous amount of fun and if you master a forward flip, it will leave you feeling like a badass ninja. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like that!
DISCLAIMER: Perhaps avoid this if you have a weak pelvic floor, as I imagine peeing yourself in the middle of a backflip isn’t such a good look.
Twerking in the Kitchen
There have been many occasions throughout my life where I have been under a trance, jumping around the room under the hypnotic trance of some of my favourite tunes, before stopping and realising I’m actually sweating. Sometimes I get through a whole album before I even realise what I’ve been doing. I had simply been in the zone.
Did it look good? Probably not, because I’m an accountant and not renowned for my technical dancing prowess. That said, it’s vital movement in an otherwise sedentary day and therefore I’m going to claim it as exercise!
I learnt to snowboard a few years ago in a real-snow indoor ski centre off the M60 in Manchester, where I’m now learning to Ski. Whilst this isn’t exactly as glamorous as Whistler (I imagine, given I haven’t been there), it gave me the basic skills.
A few years later I found myself in Geneva with a spare day along with a group of family and friends, so we got in the car and drove over to Les Gets in France where we purchased board pants, hired boots and boards and hit the slopes. I spent a lot of the first hour on my ass, or face planting into the snow. After I remembered how to board, I tried a few runs down the slopes. At one point I was so warm that I had to strip off layers and stop for a cold beverage.
The point is, boarding can be quite a strenuous activity, especially when you’re regularly picking yourself up off the floor. The best bit is that you’re concentrating so hard on where you’re heading and enjoying the adrenaline so much that you barely even realise that you’re actually ‘exercising’ for several hours consecutively!
Any Outdoor Pursuit…
Have you ever considered horse-riding? Having an allotment and planting vegetables? Going for countryside walks? Digging a tunnel to nowhere on the beach?
All of these things are physical in nature and can contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Being outside and getting fresh air helps boost my mood, especially on a sunny spring day after a week of being locked away in the office staring at spreadsheets!
I honestly believe there is something active for every person to enjoy, but it is your responsibility to identify what it is you enjoy. The best way to do this is to be open minded and willing to try anything once!
If you really, honestly, detest everything which could even be construed as exercise, then you have a very important decision to make. You need to weigh up the pros and cons of not doing exercise.
Can you afford not to do it?
Are you willing to accept the negative health consequences?
Are you likely to become dependent of medicine to regulate diseases linked to sedentary lifestyles?
If you truly despise even the idea of exercise then another option is to reduce the time it takes to an ‘acceptable amount’. You can do short, sharp exercise periods using techniques such as high intensity interval training or HIIT, where you can cram a blooming good workout into a short (enough) period such as 20 minutes. Surely you can spare 20 minutes in the name of better health?!
It’s down to you to make an assessment of whether you’re willing to make the sacrifice of your time and effort for the perceived benefits of a healthier lifestyle. Ultimately you’re your own person and the only person you’re ever truly accountable to is yourself!
YOU control whether you exercise – nobody else.
YOU control what you eat – nobody else.
YOU are the master of your own ship – take it wherever the hell you want, but please don’t moan about not being fit if you’re simply unwilling to take steps to change!
With that, it’s probably time for me to get up and move around a bit.
Over & Out.