When people choose not to exercise they feel sluggish, often eat unhealthy foods, engage in negative thoughts about others and themselves, walk around angry, experience increased anxiety levels, are less patient, develop muscle tension, headaches, and/or aches and pains in joints and muscles. In addition, they may develop a negative image of their body and express hatred toward themselves as they begin or continue to experience an increase in weight.
Why do people struggle to exercise on a regular basis? There are many different reasons, but a few that come up most often are, I am tired, I have limited time, or I have other things I want to do. Unfortunately, by not doing something physical people fuel the negative, self-deprecating voice in their head. These words then convince them to make choices that work toward destroying all the good they have worked hard to achieve personally and professionally. They begin to feel weak, powerless, isolated, and alone. In essence they begin to create an external world that matches their internal world.
When this happens people are often stuck in a feeling that they cannot get out of. As the feeling remains unfelt, their judgment and ability to step out of their situation becomes difficult. If they are in therapy and have space to move into and through the feeling, that can help them get back on track. Sometimes it takes time, even with therapy, to work into and through a feeling. When this happens it is important to first give yourself space to see that you are in a funk. Then tell yourself, “I know I am working through something right now and I will be patient with myself and the process. In the meantime, I choose to commit to working out today even if I don’t want to. I know that in the long run this is beneficial for me and I love and support myself to keep moving forward.”
Nurture yourself with loving words and then nurture yourself with a physical activity that fits your body’s needs. If you are feeling grief, anxiety, muscle tension, or headaches try doing some yoga. Taking a class with other people is often fun, or you can order a yoga DVD and do it at home. Elements: Energy and Relax by Tamal Dodge or any DVD by Tara Styles are good yoga workouts. You can also search YouTube for a video to match your ability level. If you’re feeling angry, frustrated or looking for a great total body workout try taking a kickboxing or boxing class, martial arts, or any of the P90X workouts. P90X3 workouts are challenging but are only 30-35 minutes in length. You will have to spend a little money to set yourself up with the P90X series, but it is worth the investment. Other fun group fitness classes are zumba, spin, and barre.
Walking, running and hiking only require a pair of sneakers and getting outdoors. If possible, sneak in a bit of exercise at lunch, just by walking for fifteen minutes after your meal; you will feel the benefits of muscle toning and increased afternoon energy. Whatever activities you choose to participate in, remain mindful of how your body and mind feel at the beginning, during, and after the activity is over. Notice the difference and lock in the positive sensation. Use the energy that is created through your activity to help you move into those areas of your life where you feel weak, powerless, and stuck. Walking can be done every day, for other exercise, start with a few times a week to give your muscles time to recover. And remember that we all miss a day or even a week, as we are trying to break through old negative patterns. Each new day is a new opportunity!