It would be nice to think that we had the time, energy and inclination to enjoy rigorous exercise every day – but how many of us actually do sufficient exercise?
So what do you suppose will get us out there moving more? Taking on just one small and easy activity that you can easily fit into your day, or going berserk, and over-exerting yourself first time out? The good news is that thrashing ourselves at the gym or flogging yourself at the next Ironman contest isn’t just unnecessary, it’s actually bad for you. Recent research tells us you’re more likely to end up with a pace-maker if you’ve been doing marathons and triathlons all your life!
Look! Just forget everything you’ve been told about exercise for a minute and let’s go back to the beginning.
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Cast your mind back to when you were a kid. You were probably far more active back then. You know how wriggly, babies are! Unless they’re comatose of course! (And there’s a lesson for us. Wouldn’t it be great if we could sleep like a baby again?
Babies! Wait till they start crawling around! They’re in to everything. Can’t take your eyes off them or they’ll be gone!
But they’re not moving about because they’re thinking, “I must get some exercise and keep my heart healthy!” No! They are simply moving around because there’s so much interesting stuff and they’ve just got to go and play with it!
As kids, our natural curiosity and energy had us moving around all the time. Wouldn’t it be great if you found yourself now, naturally, following your interests, and in the process found yourself moving around more and having the energy to do it?
Back to evolution again… Our brains developed hundreds of thousands of years ago when our ancestors were on the move, crossing the African Savannah. Neuroscientists believe that you can’t have a healthy, efficient brain without moving your body, and they’ve linked our sedentary lifestyles with greater incidence of depression and low mood.
That makes sense too doesn’t it? Our brains need oxygen to function. Exercise gets more oxygen into the system and it also moves that the blood that carries the nutrients to your cells. Moving is the only thing that moves lymph around the body, which mops up and disposes of the detritus left by each cells’s metabolic processes, in other words the waste products, which you definitely don’t want hanging around, making everything sluggish.
Think you lack motivation? Just notice that babies and grown-ups too don’t need motivation to do the things they want to do. Why not? Because they are already doing them! Come on? You know what I mean. You want to go to the pub. You want to go out for a meal. You want to go out shopping. And somehow, you find the time!
We’re all the same!
So a really good quality question to ask yourself is:
“If there were something I could do on a regular basis, that I would really enjoy and consider it a treat, that would get my body moving a bit more than it is now, what would it be?”
Any movement, no matter how small, is better than none. So just do something. And remember the 80-20 rule. What 20% could you do that would make 80% difference?
By doing something, anything, things will begin to change for you. And from that new position where you are now the sort of person who does something, you might ask yourself the question again, “If there were something I could do on a regular basis, that I would really enjoy and consider it a treat that would get my body moving a bit more than it is now, what would it be?”
Get it? Choose something you want to do and take it gently.