Thursday, April 9, 2009

If You Think of Exercise This Way, Your Figure Will Change

Are you someone who has struggled with your figure or weight? You've tried many different programs and diets. Some worked in the short term and you've lost weight. However, you ended up gaining the weight back (and in many cases, you gained more weight than you started with). If this is you, what you need is a paradigm shift (as Steven Covey teaches) - a shift in approach, or a change in how you think about it. It doesn't matter how good the program or diet you are on, if you have the wrong way of thinking about exercise. If you want to stop the frustration and start the long-term results of attaining your desired figure or physique, you must change the way you think about exercise.

Many people out there think of exercise as an optional activity only when you have time for it. Others think of working out as an occasional social activity. They'll do it every once in awhile when they have time or can get someone to go with them. (Now, I am for having exercise partners, but you have to be careful about choosing your workout partners as I will explain in another blog.) This prevalent way of thinking about exercise leads to so many failing to achieve their fitness goals.

You must think about exercise as a necessary activity, like eating a meal or brushing your teeth. Do you only brush your teeth whenever you feel like it? Do you only brush your teeth whenever you have time? You would never say, "I'm too busy. I don't have time to brush my teeth." Would you? If you do, your teeth and gums will eventually develop painful problems requiring expensive and painful treatments like root canals.

Most of you understand this about maintaining your oral hygiene. Oral maintainence such as brushing and flossing is touted by all dentists and backed up by scientific literature. Therefore, most of you are rational enough to understand how foolish and ridiculous it is for someone to say, "I'm too busy to brush my teeth everyday."

If you get this, then you should also understand how ridiculous and foolish it is to say, "I'm too busy. I don't have time to exercise." Exercise is just like brushing in that there's plenty of scientific evidence showing that routine exercise decreases your chances of deadly, painful, and/or costly conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, stroke, and many others. Ask any good doctor and they will tell you the same. Exercise (if done properly) may also prevent and/or alleviate back pains, neck pains, arthritis, and other joint pains. Ask any good physical therapist and physiatrist and they will tell you the same.

Exercise is also similar to brushing in that it makes you look better. Wouldn't it be good to have a better figure to go with those pearly white teeth!

However, there is a slight difference between exercise and brushing your teeth. If you exercise 6 times per week, you will make a huge difference in your physique and health. In contrast, you have to brush at least twice a day (morning and night). In fact, you would even reap benefits if you exercise just 4 times per week.

Routine exercise may also prevent and/or alleviate depression and improve brain functions. This is backed up by many studies.

Wherever you are, whether you are exercising twice a week or six times a week, the main take away message is - you must think of exercise as a routine activity, not an occasional activity only when you "have time" or only when you can find someone to accompany you. If you manage to make time for routine activities like brushing your teeth and eating, you should be able to make time for working out. As the cliche goes, "where there's a will, there's a way."

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