There is no question that our health is an extremely important subject and should be a priority in our lives. One area where people create a barrier for themselves is the extreme NEGATIVE emotion placed on exercise. For many, exercise has been a miserable experience and often times began as a youth. Some individuals can do things physically with ease while others doing the same activity will experience excruciating pain. There are many biological, mental, and physiological reasons for the reasons for the way we experience pain. Your response to the pain you experienced with physical activities is completely normal. We all process and feel pain differently and some people are far more sensitive to pain because of the way the brain and body function together. It literally hurts more because the pain sensors in the body are more sensitive for some people than they are for others.
Another factor in those that have a negative experience with exercise is the unwise way that exercise is taught in homes, schools, and youth leagues. Unfortunately, many people have had a traumatic experience as a youth with exercise. They may be slower, not interested in the sport that mom or dad has made them join, been made fun of or bullied by some idiot whose still unemployed at age 39, or had a coach that was more focused on building his own ego than helping the youngster learn a sport. Given the way many individuals have experienced exercise in the past it is no wonder they would hate it. It has been emotionally and physically painful and even demeaning at times.
Time For Change
Ninety-nine percent of my personal training and life coaching clients will not set foot in a gym or hire a personal trainer. They have had a negative experience (or many usually) with exercise, believe that when they walk into a gym they will be judged like always, and are fearful that the personal trainer will yell at them, shame them, and put them through such excruciating pain that they will not be able to roll on deodorant or go to the bathroom for days. I actually have experienced personal trainers in the last 6 months who do this. I was laughed at, told to “suck it up” when I experienced pain, and felt demoralized on a couple of “personal training” occasions. And I am in decent shape. I didn’t witness but I felt like my trainer was beating his chest like some conqueror. I never went back needless to say. We may not ever be able to change the egos of some but one thing we can do is change ourselves. And that comes with hunger. Your desire for change will ultimately be the difference in the change you seek whether it be weight loss, increased strength, and motivation to exercise and eat healthy foods, especially as you age.
How to Change the Exercise Belief System
Our bodies need to be moved and challenged a little. We do not need to exercise crazily or do a triathlon. We should include both strength training and cardio components to be healthy. How do we do that when we have had negative experiences and hate to exercise? Here are the things that have worked for those people who I have witnessed make incredible change in health and wellness:
- All accept that exercise is needed and beneficial. They understand that “30 minutes of pain” daily will lead to less pain as they age, make them feel better about themselves, and have a great impact on their overall quality of life and every aspect of life. This does not mean that they put themselves through grueling workouts or get yelled at by some crazy trainer. They learn to listen to their bodies and are able to move forward slowly at a smart pace.
- All “get back on” daily after they have “fallen off.” Many of us have a day or two of eating less than healthy foods, skip a Monday of exercise after a weekend, and pretty soon we say “forget it” and/or “this doesn’t work.” Unless you have an underlying health issue eating nutritious foods and exercise does work. If you do have an underlying health issue please see a doctor to fix it and then exercise and eating nutritious foods will work.
- All have a significant reason to begin exercise. Many feel better in the knees and back, think clearer, and like the way exercise makes their bodies look. Others want more mobility, to be healthier for family and loved ones, to play sports, or help with bone density. I like what exercise does for my head and my body. After years of experiencing depression, addiction and self-esteem issues I feel free of all of these barriers in many ways due to exercise. It has changed my life and the lives of many others and can yours too. Please see the benefit. Honor yourself and those who care for you by caring for yourself enough to move every day.
Be your own miracle!