Have you ever noticed that people talk about how tired they are and how much they wish they could reclaim the body fitness of earlier years? And when asked why they do not just do it, often they say, “I just can’t get motivated or other things get in the way of making time!” This statement brings to my mind the old adage, “Life is short”, especially when not healthy!” Sometimes this saying makes an impression and sometimes it is not enough to get someone moving. Moving takes discipline and routine.
Like any routine, we must remind ourselves of its benefits until it is etched firmly within our minds. The benefits might be that we just want to look better for ourselves or for a loved one. We also may want to improve our chances of living a healthier existence. Any of these benefits involve positive self-talk. It is definitely a balancing act between our emotions and reason. That emotion is sometimes what drives us, and I am all for that if it improves our health. Reason can direct us. For sure, a balance between our emotion and reason must prevail for good choices.
All that said, taking the first step is important. Thinking about it is necessary and then writing down the list of reasons as to what is preventing you from actually taking the first step to fitness is crucial. For example, your attitude about exercise may be inhibiting your desire to do it. You might think, “What is the point of exercising; I won’t keep doing it anyway.” Or, if you are like a friend of mine, you may keep putting it off until tomorrow.
Well, you need to set aside this line of thinking. It only makes it harder to change your ways. Besides, there are indoor shopping plaza’s that have long corridors to walk two to five kilometres for no cost. Dancing in your home is free as well. There are also commercial gym memberships. Taking up an organized recreational activity such as hiking, tennis, dancing, golf or bicycling may also encourage new friendships.
So what is the next item on the list? Ask yourself: Why do I want to get fit? This can be a positive step in motivating you. So write the thought down on your list and visualize yourself healthy and fit. Visualizing yourself exercising and fit is very important. Continue this process and then make an appointment with your doctor to get the healthy okay to move forward. Establish a routine that you can keep for many years ahead. You will see the change in your overall wellbeing.
More tips to motivate you to get fit:
Make a list of what you feel would be fun activities.
List the reasons you have for wanting to be fit.
Discuss your thoughts about your exercise plan with your doctor to see if it fits your present health level
Choose an exercise routine that you can enjoy, e.g. walking, running, dancing, canoeing or another
Choose a good buddy system – someone who exercises with you or will encourage you to keep healthy—such as a good friend
Get a dog. Dogs can be wonderful walkers.
Plan your routine. Note how often each week you will exercise, where, and what time of day.
Purchase well-suited footwear and clothing—sometimes wearing the right sportswear can help you feel athletic, not to mention help you to avoid injuries.
If you relapse with the “I can’t do this” phrase, keep telling yourself, “This will make me feel better and healthier.”
Get yourself out the door. Start with five minutes a day and then build up to 30 to 40 minutes, with your doctor’s permission, of course.
Pat yourself on the back when you accomplish your exercise goals. Look into the mirror and note how much more toned your body is getting.
Imagining a new healthy self can be a strong motivator. Double-check your thinking and keep it positive. Remember it is your self-communication that is the start to a better and healthier you. Take a look in the mirror and say, “I did it!” I know you can!
Mary Hawkins is a professor/lecturer with the University of Ottawa Communications Department, as well as the author of four published books, including Health Talk: How to Communicate with Your Doctor. She has written free-lance articles for the print media for over 15 years and is available for speaking engagements and writing/editing assignments on health communication. She can be contacted at: email@example.com
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