For some people exercise comes as easy as breathing, and for others of us, it’s a bit more effort. I’ve never been the person who gets stir crazy when I haven’t exercised, or who craves exercise and movement. In fact, I’m quite content with Netflix and my couch after a long day of sitting. Napping is one of my favorite past times. But movement is so important. Exercise helps lower risk of death, decreases risk of cancer, eases symptoms of depression, boosts energy, supports better sleep, and even improves your sex life!
There are many reasons why people don’t exercise. One common roadblock is being embarrassed of how out of shape they’ve become. It’s hard to watch people wiz past you on the trail or not be able to keep up in a Zumba class. Leave that shame at the door! We all are beginners at something. It takes time to build back up muscles and stamina, but you will get there if you take small steps.
Another reason people don’t exercise is a physical ailment. An illness, injury or chronic pain can quite literally cause exercise to be unpleasant or painful. Don’t do anything your body doesn’t want you to do, and always follow your doctor’s advice. Take movement slowly. If all you can do is walk to your mailbox, that’s OK. Look for low-impact routines, such as water aerobics that are gentle on the body. Exercise doesn’t have to be a marathon; some movement will still have benefits.
Third reason to not exercise: it’s just not fun. OOPH. Exercise can feel like a chore but it doesn’t have to be. Try new things until you find something you love! There are so many options today from crossfit to running to dance to acrobatic yoga. There is something for everyone. If you don’t like the gym, quit your membership! Find something you love and want to do, put your time, money and energy there and exercise will become something you look forward to.
Like I said, exercise isn’t my strong suit. I’ve been plagued with shame at ways my body just won’t do things (running just doesn’t work for me), I’ve been caught up in the cycle of hating the mundane routine of the gym, I’ve been petrified to look like a beginner or a failure. But today, I’m gentle on myself. I like to try out new things – this past summer I took synchronized swimming! It turned out not to be my favorite activity, but I did get out of my comfort zone and felt muscles move I didn’t know existed. For me, walking and yoga are my go-to movements. I love to put on music after a hard day and just lose myself in steps. Yoga grounds me mentally while building strength and flexibility. I’ve also been known to throw a solo dance party in my kitchen while I cook. ☺
What are you doing to move today?