“A healthy mind in a healthy body”. – Roman Poet Juvenal
We have all heard of this age-old adage. We all know the benefits of regular exercise. But why is it that we still do not live by this practice?
I struggle with this. Whenever I go to the gym, I feel more energetic throughout the day. But I don’t do it consistently.
I am consciously trying to change this and be more regular.
According to a recent survey, obesity in India has reached epidemic proportions, with 5% of the population being affected. Some times, this can be a genetic issue. But the majority of the population has brought this upon themselves.
We are glued to our chairs at work all day long. And if this is not enough, we come home and become couch potatoes. We barely move throughout the day and we rarely exercise and eat right.
We eat processed food or junk food most of the time. We take our bikes to get something that is just a few blocks away from the home.
Remember, that our bodies are designed to be more active. You have to use your legs more often than bikes and cars.
Exercise – A keystone Habit
“Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body”. – Arnold Schwarzenegger
In his book, The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg talks about why exercise is considered a keystone habit.
Once you start working out regularly, then you bring in positive changes in other areas of your life.
You start eating healthy food and cut down on all junk. You become more productive at work since you have more energy throughout the day. You sleep well at night since your body is tired.
So basically by just exercising more often, you influence other areas of your life. That is the magic of exercise.
All successful people make time for exercise. They know the benefits of having a healthy body and they do not trade this for anything else.
1. Make exercise a priority
You should make exercise a priority in your day. Unless you inculcate this habit in your daily ritual, you would not be able to see its effectiveness.
World-class motivational guru Robin Sharma strongly advocates people to do two workout sessions in a day. He says “When you know that exercise gives you so much of advantage, why do it only once?”. His concept of second wind workout is something to be considered.
Do not let your mind make up lame excuses. “Oh, I am too tired today to hit the gym”, “It’s ok to not go for a jog today” or some other excuse of this kind.
If you think you get tired in the evenings due to workload at the office, a then better exercise in the evenings. If you think you do not have time, make time.
Doing it is the important thing. When you do it, is all up to you.
2. Do something you can enjoy
For most of us exercise means going to the gym and lifting weights. We want to do it just because we have heard about it or seen a friend do it.
That does not have to be the case with everyone.
If you are interested in going to the gym and lift weights, do it. There’s nothing wrong with it. But if you hate the idea of doing laborious workouts every day, then don’t force yourself.
You can play a sport, ride a bicycle, go for a jog, a long walk or even yoga. The choices in today’s day and age are endless. Pick something you can easily follow daily and doesn’t require too much will power to enforce.
Doing something which you can also enjoy will make sure that you do not quit after a week.
3. Measure your progress and reward yourself
It’s human nature to measure the results in a quantifiable manner.
When you exercise regularly and do not measure the results in some form, you would get discouraged after a while.
If you see you are getting fitter as compared to your older self, then give yourself some sort of reward.
It could be a small trip with your friends, nice apparel, or even as simple as a couple of episodes of your tv show.
It keeps you motivated to continue this loop.
“It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable”. – Socrates
In our busy lives, it is very easy to neglect our health. What good would it do if you have all the luxuries in the world, but your health doesn’t permit you to enjoy it?
When we are young we think that health is always good and our body is on our side. You think that you have got everything covered.
You convince yourself that other things are more important than your health. Nothing could be further from the truth. But one day, a visit to the doctor changes everything.
Prevention is always better than cure. Only 30 minutes of investment daily will give you immeasurable returns in life.
Treat your body well and it will take care of you.