Wednesday, January 30, 2013

You don't have to exercise...

Happy Wednesday!

Excerpt from Fit & Free: Seven Steps to Achieving Fitness for Life

Chapter 6:
Creating your Personal Action Plan

You may or may not have noticed by now that I do not use the word ‘exercise’ very often. I have managed to write nearly 6 chapters in a fitness book without using the word exercise more than a handful of times. Instead I refer to the term ‘fitness’ or ‘activity’. I do this for a very good reason and it relates specifically to the following Fit & Free™ Principle:

You do not have to ‘exercise’ to be fit. 

Stop thinking about physical activity as exercise and start thinking of it as freedom to live your life as you please.

Most people have negative images, feelings and thoughts around the term ‘exercise’.
Physical activity does not have to be in the form of traditional exercise to be effective and the Fit & Free™ steps will help you think outside the gym ‘box’. The steps in this program will teach you that you do not need to ‘exercise’ in a traditional way to gain the benefits of physical activity.

I stopped speaking about ‘exercise’ many years ago when I realized that many people experience negative thoughts and feelings when they hear this term. Many of us have experienced failed attempts at various ‘exercise’ program and associate this term with these negative experiences in the past. People often associate the term ‘exercise’ with the following thoughts:

Exercise is hard work.
Exercise hurts.
Exercise takes time.
Exercise is something other people do.
Exercise is not for me.

Take a moment to think about the thoughts and feelings that you have around the term ‘exercise’. How does this word make you feel?

Additionally, many people have preconceived ideas about what ‘exercise’ actually looks like. These ideas are based partially on past experiences, but also largely on images that we see in the media. We are told that in order to get fit we must ‘exercise’ and when we think ‘exercise’ we often picture traditional activities such as:

Going to the gym.
Playing team sports.

Now these are all great activities and it is very true that many people find fitness success and happiness by engaging in these classic forms of ‘exercise’. This is because their needs are met through these types of ‘exercise’. But what works for Betty may not work for Bob and our activity preferences are as individual as our taste in music or movies. Forget about what ‘Bob’ is doing and throw your preconceived ideas of ‘exercise’ out the window. It is time to identify your own lifestyle needs and activity preferences.

I have seen too many people fail to reach their fitness goals because of one simple mistake. They did not choose an activity that met their needs. Or, we could back up a bit further and add that they did not even know what their personal needs were before beginning.

We are in such a rush to get fit that we often miss one of the most important steps to securing our fitness future: identifying our personal needs and preferences.


Do you have negative emotions in your heart and images in your head when it comes to 'exercise'?  What activities have you done in the past that did not feel like 'exercise'?  What activities do you find joy in?  What are your personal lifestyle needs & preferences?  Now is the time to ask the big questions so that you can reach your big dreams down the road!

Happy Trails,

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