To be honest with you, working out can sometimes be a real pain in the ass. If for no other reason than some days you feel like you are banging your head against the wall, and going nowhere fast. This mindset is easy to absorb in a society fraught with obesity, one in which dietary excess is glorified while ‘vain obsessed physical fitness/gym rats/insert your term here,’ are sometimes mocked for their dedication.
Then the excuses can kick in: ‘What’s the point? I don’t need to be in good shape, I sit in an office all day.’
‘I’m just too tired when I wake up in the morning/get home from work.’ ‘I need my energy for work/taking care of the kids, it is just not feasible to waste time and energy working out.’
What about the times you allow yourself to believe all the crap anyone ever helped you convince yourself of?
-There is no way you can get that strong, those guys/girls have been doing that for years. Plus they are naturally gifted.
-With all that extra weight on you, it’s not a good idea to run or overdo it, it might put too much strain on your already overworked heart.
-I’m too skinny, I can’t put on muscle.
-I’m too fat, I can’t run.
-This or that injury is something I have to learn to live with.
Damn, this could go on all day. You have to run errands, fix dinner, get a presentation together, make phone calls, etc., etc., etc.
And you know what? Even if everything I said above, and anything you may have added to it is the absolute truth, it does not matter.
Exercise, whatever it is, is not done just to lose weight, or to get ready for competition, or to gain muscle and strength. These are direct benefits yes. But here is one more: Exercise is good for your brain. Especially cardiovascular exercise. And when your brain is clear, every aspect of your day is going to go better.
Exercise is also a natural bodily function. We are designed to move, as a car is designed to run. Sorry for the cliche analogy but it fits. When a car sits, never turned on and never cared for, it rots; from the inside out. The oil gets thick and gunks up the motor. Batteries corrode and that corrosion crawls up the wires.
Sadly, the human body is not much different. Let it sit and neglect to run it often enough, and it develops circulation problems, muscles atrophy, and the motor begins to have trouble running smoothly (the heart.)
But the truth is, you and I don’t need any of these reasons to start moving; to go after a physical goal, no matter how old you are or how ridiculous it may seem. Know why? Because you may only have today to do it, and personally, I don’t want to miss out on the feeling of being alive. That’s right. Alive. A feeling I get every time I push myself, feel my muscles straining, burning, my lungs laboring to suck in air.
I haven’t run in awhile? So what, thank God it’s burning, it means I was able to run fast enough that it hurt. I’m alive!
Not as strong as I used to be? Who cares? It feels good to lift heavy, no matter what heavy is on that day. The feeling of power and strength surging through me is like a fountain of youth! I can’t wait to do more!
When the workout is finished it may have been shorter than expected, or maybe expectations were exceeded, but I guarantee it didn’t fail to teach me something about myself; about what it means to be human; and by the end it erases any doubts about why I started exercising today in the first place. It doesn’t take much, just start stepping, start moving, and don’t stop until you feel alive.