Thursday, April 28, 2011

5 Ways to Get in Shape Without Moving a Muscle

"If it weren't for the fact that the TV set and refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn't get any exercise at all." 
~Joey Adams

You know all the reasons you should start exercising. I know you know. You know you know. We don’t need to rehash all that here. But what if it’s still hard to get out the door on a regular basis? What if you just aren’t “there” yet?

Well then, start by getting yourself mentally and emotionally to a place where exercise doesn’t seem so scary. Start by getting “there”.

5 Ways to move (figuratively speaking) towards an active lifestyle

Spend time with active people

Active people tend to be passionate about their healthy lifestyles and passion is contagious. It is hard to be around someone who has such enthusiasm and passion for something without it rubbing off at least a little bit.

Spending time with someone who lives a more active lifestyle than you do will also give you a mental picture of what an active lifestyle looks like in a living breathing person. When you start to understand how someone who has similar responsibilities and challenges as you do makes exercise work in their life, it helps you picture it in your life as well.

Invite the office gym rat to have lunch with you or go be a spectator at a local road race and spend some time with some of the runners. Once you have a firm mental picture of what an active lifestyle looks like and a little bit of that enthusiasm has worn off, suddenly starting an exercise program won’t seem like such a crazy idea.

Fake it until you make it

What do active people do that you don’t? Well, besides actually exercising. They have an air of confidence and focus, smile often, have good posture and strong body awareness. Try imitating an active person in these ways.

Lifestyle choices impact attitude and body language but it can work in reverse as well. If starting activity seems too impossible, start cultivating the attitude and body language of an active person. Ask yourself, how would an active person sit, act, talk. Start by making those small changes in your daily habits and see how it feels.

Read about active people

Try subscribing to a running magazine, check out online forums for active people and health and wellness blogs (like this one!). Expose yourself to the idea of activity as much as possible. What we choose to read influences our thoughts and perceptions. Expose your mind to ideas about being active and it will slowly start to sink in.

Reprogram old self talk

If you want to be more active and healthy but just can’t seem to actually start exercising you might have some negative self-talk going on at least on some level. Things like “I am not an active person, I have never been an active person, it’s just not what I do, it’s not who I am”.

Start to work on reprogramming those old ideas. Try saying out loud to yourself “I am an active person. I enjoy my exercise. I look forward to my exercise every day.” Maybe even try telling yourself “Today feels like a good day to get some exercise”. Keep saying it to yourself daily until it starts to feel true.

Just look at yourself

You might not have the body of an athlete yet but look at the structure and form of your body.

You have 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your feet alone! Look at your calves and quads and knee caps and hips. Look at your complex core muscles all structured to keep your upright and stabilize you for movement. Look at your arms used for balance and also as pendulums to create momentum and help you move faster. Look at the muscles of your neck all in place to stabilize your head during movement.

You are built for movement. You are built to be active. No matter what your current lifestyle or how out of shape you currently are, you have it in you to be active. Your body is built for it.

Getting "There"

The idea here is to simply start spending more and more time exposing yourself to the idea of being active. Get curious about what an active lifestyle is really like and how it could work in your life. Get used to the idea of yourself as an active person.

After a week or two suggest to yourself “Maybe today I will go get some exercise” and just see how that feels. Keep it up and one day, you will just know that you are "there".

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