No one needs to be reminded that the fitness craze has arrived in full bloom and hints to us that it’s not going away anytime soon.
For the more, shall we say, “leisurely” type of person, this can cause a lot of guilt. “I’m going to start walking — next week.” “How hard can it be to just walk for 30 minutes? I can do that. I just haven’t had time.” We’ve all heard (and sometimes used) one of these excuses.
The one reason people don’t do what they don’t absolutely have to do is simple: They don’t want to, and they don’t have to. We grow up learning that death and taxes are the only two inevitables. Now they want us to exercise?
Exercise is thought of by many people as a forced kind of event, and walking hovers near the top of the list in the “boring” category. “I don’t want to just WALK! What’s the point, where’s the destination?” we ask.
Well, just like everything else, there are loopholes here aplenty; it’s up to the individual to make something so intolerably “boring” pretty interesting. It’s also imperative to your health that you rethink that statement and re-prioritize your life.
Just think of it this way: Do you place a high enough priority on yourself and your well-being? It never hurts to remind yourself of the health benefits you’d gain by walking regularly. It’s true — you will not notice these long-term benefits right away, you will notice these things: You’ll have more energy. You’ll sleep better. You’ll be fitter. And you’ll be happier.
Still not enough? OK. On those days you really can’t seem to set aside a half hour for a walk, you CAN walk. Find shorter segments of time where walking naturally fits into your schedule. If you’re used to driving everywhere, this may take a little rethinking. But consider this: If you have a short errand to do, a meeting to attend, or a child to pick up, walk. If you’re headed to see a movie, to worship, to a game, walk. Although it may take a few minutes longer than normal, remind yourself of your efficient use of time: you’re actually accomplishing several things at once. (This is a mental trick, but it works.)
Look, if our ancestors survived the Ice Age, it won’t kill you to walk in the rain. In our age of climate control and central air, we like our environment to remain comfortable at all times. But, come on, how “boring” is that?
Another trick is to think of walking as a basic human need, like sleep, shelter, and food. Then, after you complete your 30 minutes, reward yourself with any of the other three needs. Walk back home and go in the kitchen.
The key is to never demand too much from yourself. So what if the dishes aren’t done? Do them later. You’ll live longer and more healthfully if you walk instead of do the dishes! And doctors don’t prescribe doing the laundry a certain amount of times during the week. These are the “blocks” you put in front of yourself that keep you from walking.
It certainly isn’t easy to change our priorities in today’s hectic world, but it’s harder to begin “getting healthy” when it’s a little too late — and the house is spotless.