Down with exercise
The lead-in to today’s post might seem like heresy for someone who calls himself a health coach, the Walking Coach no less, so let me explain.
Let’s face it. The word exercise doesn’t exactly bring joy to everyone’s heart. The term usually translates to monotony (think treadmill) or some degree of pain (think running), and is usually associated with lots of sweat.
No wonder we hate to exercise.
Now there are some among you who consider the suffering of ‘working out’ to be a necessary evil in order to feel and look better. On the other hand, there are many for whom the rewards of ‘working out’ simply don’t justify having to put up with the drudgery.
Maybe it’s time we came up with a new term for this thing we do when we engage in intentional physical activity, one which will not be repellent like that nasty word ‘exercise’.
To be honest, I’m not sure what that new term should be – but I’m working on it. And I encourage you to send me any ideas you have about how to re-brand something that frankly needs a makeover if it’s to gain popularity in this culture.
In the meantime, what may help is how we choose to approach physical activity.
If we think of exercise as play (wonderfully child-like, really) rather than as work (so adult-like, don’t you think?), we may be more inclined to make it a part of our day. Yes, every day.
Hey, kids don’t go to the gym to get in shape, they go outside and play (or at least they used to). And so should we.
It may be time to revisit the playbook that served us so well until we became adults. Too bad we’ve largely forgotten the joy that accompanies play.
If you’re finding it difficult to exercise these days, consider the following:
Take it outdoors. The quality of the oxygen outside beats the stale air inside and, this time of year, is especially invigorating.
Get a workout buddy (or playmate). When we make a commitment to exercise with someone other than ourselves, we’re more likely to follow through.
Walking is king. Of all the activities you could choose, walking still offers the best of many worlds. It’s simple, does not require any special skill or equipment, is not particularly strenuous, can be done in short increments, and is doable just about anywhere, anytime.
Play beats work any day. And the more we engage in activities which are enjoyable, the more we will want to keep repeating the experience.
To your health!