HOW to get yourself moving

August 9th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

Motivation is a key element of fitness—without motivation all the good intentions and smart ideas in the world will lie inert and be of no good to anyone.

I’m all about politely acknowledging the THEORY behind ideas and then moving quickly into MAKING THEM HAPPEN in real life.  (Always have been; just ask my sister!)

When it comes to weight loss, we can talk and write and read and shop until we’re blue in the face, but unless you actually EAT LESS you aren’t moving toward accomplishing your goals.

The same is, of course, true when it comes to exercise.  I read an interesting tidbit in my Runner’s
World magazine earlier this morning: someone asked the expert whether it was better to eat unhealthily and exercise (in this magazine, run) or whether it was better to eat pristinely and not exercise.  I thought the answer was pretty good: it’s the same thing as asking whether it’s better to shoot yourself in your right foot or in your left foot.  Either way, you’re shooting yourself in the foot!

Along those lines, I will say that I think sometimes people feel a need for more motivation and ideas when it comes to figuring out WHAT kind of exercise to do.

To answer this, I suggest a few ideas for HOW to get your exercise groove on.

1. Redefine Exercise.  Exercise can be any number of movements.  In fact, it can oftentimes be simply that: MOVEMENT.  Not everyone needs the same thing.  A contractor who tears down buildings with his bare hands a la Mike Holmes  may not need or want the same movement-oriented fitness as someone who sits at a desk twelve hours a day.  Perhaps the contractor needs more flexibility training than strength work—so for the contractor, maybe yoga would push him out of his comfort zone and into a new level of fitness.

2. Be Involved in What You Enjoy.  Anyone can go through the movements and turn
off their brains, but it takes a level of involvement to reach a healthy level of fitness.  Don’t try to multi-task your exercise if you are working on reaching a healthy level of fitness.  (No magazines on the bikes at the gym.  No cell phone conversations on a jog.)

If you want to get moving with other people, try a pickup basketball game, or a hilly hike, or even a game of tag with your kids and their friends.  (I also borrow my friends’ dog for some tag every now and again—talk about winding me! She can put me to SHAME!)

Above all, when you are engaged in repetitive motions particularly on a machine at the gym, STAY ENGAGED and keep your focus on what you’re doing while you are there.  If you let your mind wander, you risk losing focus and intensity and not getting the benefits from the moves you deserve.

3. If You Hate It, Find Something Else.  No one suggests that you have to hate what you do for exercise—in fact, it’s the exact opposite!  There are so many different activities that will help you move and be fit that it is a waste of time and energy to force yourself to do something you hate.  This isn’t scales on the piano or multiplication tables—it’s physical movement and activity.  Your body will respond to new things and become stronger as a result of new challenges.
Take a look at your local parks and rec offerings to see if there is a class you might enjoy.  Ever tried Tai Chi?  Karate?  Rock climbing? Golf? Ballroom dancing?  Hip hop?  (Just a sample from a nearby city’s bulletin!)

Have fun out there!

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  1. Peggy says:

    Hey, I looked at that “nearby city’s bulletin” and saw a class called “Diabetes, Exercise & You”. Is that the class you are leading?

    How does one sign up? What do I need to know?

  2. You are funny. And it’s YOUR dog who can put me to shame in less than 17 seconds. ;)

    You can sign up for the class online; click through the link at!

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