Have you ever attended one of your high school reunions? And have you ever noticed that some of your classmates look and act a lot younger than you? In fact, you don’t know where they get their energy from. Or, conversely, you notice that some of your classmates seem so much older than you. You wonder what you could possibly have in common with them anymore.
We could all come up with reasons why we age at the rate we do, but I believe this one fact has something to do with it: Exercising regularly helps to keep you looking and feeling well.
Quality of life can be enhanced by an active lifestyle. Along with other positive behaviors, exercise and movement relate to a low risk of developing major health problems.
There are women I know who are leading a way too sedentary life. Many of these same women also know that exercise builds stronger bones; increases energy; improves balance and posture; improves endurance; helps to keep you flexible and to sleep soundly; aids in keeping your skin looking young; boosts your mood; helps to fire up your sex drive; relieves stress and reduces the risk for chronic disease.
So why, knowing all the good that can come from exercise and movement, do some women resist it?
Why aren’t these women highly motivated, knowing the probable cost to their well-being down the road if they don’t exercise?
Some of the reasons are a lack of confidence in one’s abilities; inertia; fear of getting injured; having no time; not knowing what to do or how to begin; wanting support; concerns about body image; feeling depressed, stressed or anxious; costs and availability and, of course, health issues.
Obviously these are a lot of problems/circumstances to contend with. So for today, let’s address the problem of inertia. Many factors come into play with inertia including, lifestyle and personality. Unfortunately, inertia (a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged) increases as we age, while our energy and vitality decrease. And, bad habits can become firmly established over time.
So how can we women overcome inertia and a lack of confidence in our abilities as we get older?
Here are 3 tips to get you started:
Take small steps. Did you ever hear the expression: the more you do, the more you can do? Decide you’ll take only 5 minutes a day to do some form of movement. Maybe you’ll walk to your mailbox and back. Or perhaps you’ll perform three yoga poses. Can you hit a tennis ball against a wall or do some easy weight-lifting for only 5 minutes? Commit to doing this one small step daily. When this becomes a regular routine, can you challenge yourself to do more or go farther and step up your exercise a bit?
When you’re sitting on your sofa, can you challenge yourself to stand up every time there’s a TV commercial? Can you stand up and move about every 15 to 30 minutes when you’ve been sitting for too long at your computer?
Be sure not to choose an activity that causes you pain or a lot of discomfort. You want to find something you can do and that’s enjoyable. There’s always some form of physical activity you can do. The opposite of inertia is that a body in motion stays in motion. The more one moves, the easier it becomes.
Get clear on your goals as well as the kind(s) of exercise you enjoy or think you might enjoy. If you tie your exercising into losing weight, you may be disappointed and quit. Body weight does not equate with fitness. Well-being is not the same as weight loss.
Set a fitness goal that will help to make a positive difference in your life. These should be your goals, not someone else’s, and remember there’s no reason to judge yourself.
Perhaps you have trouble opening up a bottle top, and you want to feel stronger, so you want to build more muscle especially in your arms. Or, could it be that you recently slipped on some ice, and you don’t want that to happen again so you set a goal to improve your core strength and your balance. Or maybe you spend your nights worrying, and you’d love to reduce some of the stress you’re feeling.
Once you have your goal(s), write down what can derail your efforts. See if you can come up with solutions to work around the hurdles that stop you.
Document, Tweak and Reward. We all appreciate a congratulations, a prize, or recognition for a job well done. Right? A reward can be a great motivator and help one to create a new habit. The opposite is also true.
Focusing on something poorly done, is a sure-fire way to give up, quit and feel bad about yourself. Here’s what happened to me a while back: Every morning I set my intentions for the day. At the end of the day, I would document how I missed my mark. Yep. There were days when I didn’t follow my intentions, and every evening I listed all the things I didn’t do. Naturally I felt like crap. It got so bad that I no longer felt like setting my intentions because I knew I wasn’t going to keep them.
What I did was to do the opposite of what I’d been doing. I continued writing my intentions in the morning, but at night I’d congratulate myself for what I did do. I’d write something like: Yea, Barb, you did blah, blah, blah (and sometimes it was only one small thing I did) — Congratulations! You amaze me, or great going or keep it up!!! I began to feel really good about my intentions and oddly enough, found that I’m much more likely to keep them.
The bottom line is to document the good, no matter how small; tweak and continually improve what you do and then give yourself a reward. Promising yourself that you can’t have your morning smoothie until you take your walk or perform your choice of exercise, for example, can be a great motivator!
Throw out your excuses, and set the bar higher for yourself!
And remember that while being more active is very safe for most people, it is important to check with your physician before becoming more physically active.
Let me ask you, do you have inertia when it comes to exercising? If yes, have you given thought to the kind of exercise(s) and activities that may appeal to you? Have you set a clear goal or taken small steps to be more active? Please respond below; we’d love to hear from you!