Exercise is basically any activity which involves movement of the body and so increases heart rate, breathing and metabolism. Sitting up for example is exercise compared to laying down and standing is more exercise than sitting. Of course, none of the examples given are enough to keep us fit and healthy. Ideally, we need to work at 60% to 80% of our maximum heart rate for about 20 minutes at a time at least three times a week. Your maximum heart rate can be estimated using the simple formula: Max heart rate = 220 minus your age according to brianmac.co.uk. This only gives a rough figure but it is a good point to start from.
The problem is that for many of us (me included) exercise takes will power. It can be hard work and not very enjoyable. I have seen thousands of people out jogging over the years and to this date I have NEVER seen even one person looking as if they are enjoying it. Now I know that there are many people who do enjoy this exercise and the lack of a smile at the time is not necessarily an indicator, but for the rest of us it is just a chore that we perform to get fit and healthy. It isn’t just running either, the same can be said for any form of targeted exercise like push ups, sit ups, weights, etc. Exercising in this way takes WILL POWER!
The problem is that if you are one of the thousands of people who don’t get a kick out of this type of activity, it can be an unpleasant laborious experience. The problem is that between exercise sessions all we remember or IMAGINE, is the unpleasantness especially as the fruits of this labour cannot be seen instantly.
The imagination is a great deal more powerful than the will so your conversation with yourself may go something like this.
Will: Right it’s 6 O’clock in the morning, time for that 5-mile run!
Imagination: When I did this yesterday my lungs felt as if they were going to burst, my legs ached the whole time and I felt physically sick! It was awful!
Will: But I have to do this to get fit and lose weight and to complete that marathon I agreed to!
Imagination: I was sweaty when I got back, the extra time cooling down and showering made me late for work and my legs ached all day!
Will: Come on let’s go!
Imagination: I just realised I can’t today because I have to iron my shirt for work, and put the laundry out and check the oil in the car.
Sound familiar? In a situation like this, the imagination will win every time. What we must do is change the way we imagine the exercise. The easiest way to do this is to take part in a sport or recreational activity. Martial Arts of course is a great example. You are so busy thinking about what you’re doing and being the next Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris that you don’t really realise that you are actually exercising. The same is true of other sports like football, rugby or tennis for example. The exercise part seems to happen all by itself. So now when we remember / imagine between sessions, we think about the fun we had and not the physical strain.
If you really need a certain exercise like push ups or running, try to create enjoyment and positive feeling while you are doing it. As you are jogging down the street make an effort to create nice experiences e.g. feeling the sun on your face or noticing a nice sight like a certain flower display in a garden or a car you like the look of. This way the image we create will be of those nice things rather than the sweat, blood and tears. So my advice, SMILE WHILE YOU EXERCISE!