Dealing with Your Exercise Barriers
Of course, it's not just negative thoughts that keep you from exercising. You have real reasons not to exercise, right? Let's think about them and see whether you can get past them.
I don't have time to exercise. Of course you don't. We've found that basically no one has time to exercise. People don't become regular exercisers because they were bored and didn't have anything else to do. Exercise can seem so frivolous when so many other “important” things must get done.
Broaden your viewpoint. Without enough regular exercise, you're more likely to lack the energy and stamina to tackle all your chores, to feel good at the end of the day instead of exhausted, and to reach your ideal size.
There is no way around your need to exercise. You can't hire someone to do it for you. You can't have it done to you passively while you rest. You can't do just a little and expect huge results. You can't speed it up and do it in less time. Exercise takes as much time as it takes. Even money can't buy you exercise.
If you're really struggling to find time to exercise, get creative. When Helen was a mom with a six-month-old, she would head to the park with her baby in the stroller. There she would run circles on a wide path around the stroller so she could get in her running. Undoubtedly she might have gotten a few curious stares from onlookers, but it worked.
There really aren't shortcuts to exercise. Perhaps that's the real beauty of it. Could it be that your exercise time is time just for you? Time to de-stress, to decompress, to be alone with your thoughts? Time to enjoy some of the sensuous pleasures of your body's movement and sweat?
Today, most health clubs offer childcare, so you can still get in a workout. Or you could develop a home program if you've got small children. Exercise during naptime, when they're in the playpen, or while they play at your feet. You'll find it worthwhile even if it's not your ideal. And don't forget your spouse! Ask him or her to baby-sit while you work up a sweat and enjoy exercising for a half hour.
Put it on your schedule. Don't rely on “when you feel like it” exercising. Schedule exercise into your daily agenda and make sure that you block off at least 45 minutes three times a week—or more. Plan to schedule exercise for the rest of your life. Intermittent bursts of exercise are okay, but they don't add up to much over your lifetime. You never outgrow your need for exercise.
What About My Hair!
I hate what exercising does to my hair! Unless you're bald or you shave your head, there's a good chance that working up a sweat will mess up your hair. Yuck! Wouldn't it be great if you could exercise hard without wrecking your hairstyle or needing to shower afterward?
This problem can only be tackled through practical measures and a good attitude. The best attitude to adopt is that not exercising wrecks a heck of a lot more than exercising ever can. Not exercising wrecks your weight-loss progress, lowers your metabolic rate, and erodes your health. So what's a hairstyle and more antiperspirant when we're talking about your ideal size and health?
Carefully choose the type of exercise and the timing of your exercise to handle your showering and hair concerns. Many of us prefer to exercise in the morning before work. Some prefer after work. Noontime aerobics classes are a bit harder for handling personal hygiene, but you can solve the problem if you're motivated enough. How about an easier-to-manage hairstyle?
Embarrassed at the Health Club
Health clubs intimidate me. Do you find yourself comparing other bodies to yours? Do you believe that others at the gym are looking at your body critically, especially if you're not yet at your ideal size? Or even if you are? We have clients who are embarrassed to be seen riding their bicycles in public. They feel that every passerby is commenting on the size of their thighs. How do you overcome this?
We certainly don't recommend hiding out because you aren't in the shape or at the size you want to be. You can start your exercise program at home. Terrific exercise videos are available, and home exercise equipment is a great investment … if you use them. You can also join a health club or go to the local rec center and exercise. Just be sure to not compare your body to others; rather, use the time as your personal time for you. Luxuriate in the pleasure of moving your body, the sweat, and the heavy breathing.
By all means, do as much exercise out of doors as you want. If a passerby has thoughts about your body, well, only you know how mistaken and petty that person is. He or she is passively riding in a car; you, on the other hand, are getting fresh air, sunshine, and terrific body movement.
Exercise Is Hard and It Hurts
Whenever I start exercising again, my body is so sore. Yes, we agree. At first, you can be stiff and sore after an especially energetic workout. It can be hard to catch your breath, your lungs can feel as though they can't get enough oxygen, you can feel really out of shape. In this situation, you only have two choices—stay out of shape or get in shape.
The only way out is to go through it. You can go more slowly and let your body build stamina and muscle strength without so much huffing and puffing, wheezing, and stiffness.
Last year, Lucy moved to a small city within 15 minutes of the mountains and great hiking trails. “I thought I was in great shape until I started hiking. Oh my gosh, after a half hour my legs were mush, and they wobbled. My heart pounded. I got woozy but didn't want anyone, namely my husband, to know. After several hikes, he started watching me more carefully. When my legs started trembling as I climbed, he made me stop and take my pulse rate. [Do this by counting the pulse on your wrist or neck for 6 seconds and multiply by 10.] If my heart rate was too high, say over 140, he had us turn around and head down the mountain. I didn't like this because I wanted to reach the top. However, by not pushing myself to the top early on, over the summer, I developed the stamina to go farther and farther every hike. Now those same hikes feel like a cakewalk.”
Muscle soreness and stiffness on the days after exercise is caused by a build-up of lactic acid in your muscles. To feel better, drink lots of water, stretch your sore muscles, and take hot Epsom salt baths. You can tell by now that we recommend baths for almost any condition. The luxury of massages is great, too.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.