by: Lynn Kennedy-Baxter, RN, MA
Are you having difficulty getting started with exercise? Your best excuse immediately pops into your mind to interfere with your good intentions. Jumpstart your exercise with some ideas and strategies that will give you energy, overcome your resistance and make it easier for you to get started.
First, call it what it is – an excuse. An excuse to pass on exercise is a justification to avoid doing what you know is good for you. You make avoiding exercise appear more acceptable or less unpleasant in your mind. You tell yourself you don’t have enough time and you believe yourself! Because you believe it is a fact, you decide that it is OK not to exercise. Then you don’t feel too guilty about skipping exercise.
You know you don’t have time to exercise, but put on your exercise clothes and shoes anyway to counteract your excuse. That will help you to stop believing that you don’t have enough time. Decide that you must find the time to exercise. Decide to make time. Then get practical, look at your day timer or PDA and schedule exercise as you would any other important task in your life.
While you are doing these first two steps, it is imperative for you to remember that if you keep on doing the same thing, you will keep on getting the same results. In this case if you keep on pushing exercise to the bottom of the priority list, you will continue to live with a body that is sluggish, overweight and/or has health problems.
Jumpstart your energy level with some energetic breathing, now that you are prepared. Yes, you breathe all the time, but it is ineffective, shallow breathing that doesn’t get you much oxygen. You need more oxygen, because more oxygen equals more energy.
Do this little exercise as you read this article. Rate your energy level right now on a scale of zero to 10. Make a note of the number. Is it 4 or 5? Maybe 3? If you are feeling rather energetic, you might rate yourself higher.
Now breathe deep into your belly with abdominal breathing. Pull the air way down by expanding your abdomen. Don’t lift your shoulders. Make each inhalation equal in time to the exhalation, so you don’t get dizzy. When you start, count one thousand, two thousand, and etc. to make the inhalation equal to the exhalation.
Breathe this way for three minutes. Time yourself so you learn how this really works. If your diaphragm muscle is weak, this may be hard, but stick with it. Just go slowly and do another minute.
Now, rate your energy level again. It is probably 1 to 3 points higher on the scale than it was before you did abdominal breathing. Do this exercise any time you want more energy and especially before you want to exercise. It sends instant energy to your muscles where you need it. More energy translates into more motivation to exercise, so it is easier to overcome your excuses.
Last of all – just start doing something for 5 minutes. Move. Get the exercise juices flowing. Walk around your house. Walk up and down some stairs. Stretch your body over an exercise ball. Grab the dog and start walking. Put some fast music on the stereo. Dance. Jump in the car and go to the nearest park.
It feels really good. Your muscles have been crying out for some action and you have been ignoring them. Move. It only takes a little bit to start to feel good.
Jump start your exercise today by naming your excuse, so you immediately have more command it. Counteract it with a specific plan. Remember that you must do something different to get different results. Start by breathing deeply into your belly for more energy, put on your exercise clothes and get moving.