3 TIPS FOR MAKING EXERCISE FUN AND REGULAR
Good Wednesday to You!
Today is a great day to love yourself with some movement.
I had a busy, productive day yesterday.
I continue enjoying my inner-journey with my tai-chi sessions each day. The levity and the natural high I get are incredible and peaceful.
I can’t imagine how a country could change for the better if children were taught how to use movement as a means of enhancing their physical, emotional and mental well-being and performance?
I know I use many of the things I learned from my parents and early coaches and mentors in my life regularly; I also know that most people are living out their parental programming so why not give them some good programming!
Instead of talking about the “runner’s high”, we could start enjoying the dancer’s high, the weight lifter’s high, the walkers high, the bicycle rider’s high, the calisthenics high!
That’s my dream anyway. I hope some of you can exemplify your joy for others to emulate. If we all do that together, we can sleep well knowing we are part of the healing that has to start within ourselves first.
Vidya and I shared the gym yesterday for a great workout.
I did a pushing circuit of single arm cable pushes (4 RM), Swiss ball-dumbbell bench press (4 RM), finishing with Swiss ball Bruce Lee (swan) push-ups to fatigue. She and I both did four circuits.
I felt fantastically alive afterward too!
In the evening I chatted with a friend, Arnold Nerenberg about our new joint book project, which I’ll share more about with you soon.
The book goes to print for the first run very soon so I’ll let those that are interested know how to get a copy.
After an amazing Vidya-made dinner of beautiful Ahi tuna and mixed vegetables, I started a new piece of art and enjoyed that until I hit the sack.
I’ll share this art piece with you when it’s done.
3 TIPS FOR MAKING EXERCISE FUN AND REGULAR
We all inherently know we need exercise (movement) to be healthy.
If you were to ask 100 10-year-old children if they thought some form of regular movement or exercise is important for having a healthy body, I’d guess that 90% would answer “Yes” without hesitation.
Today, we have a paradoxical situation in our culture.
We have more health care professionals, exercise professionals, gyms, exercise gadgets, and experts touting the benefits of exercise than ever in the history of man!
yet we are the fattest, sickest, most sedentary people in recorded history!
Research has shown that today, only about 8% of men, and 3% of women do any regular exercise, including walking a dog.
This means that when you drive to work, or go shopping on the weekend and see people playing golf, tennis, walking, biking, running, or kicking a soccer ball in the park, you are probably seeing almost everyone in your city that exercises on any given day!
Though I prefer people get outside to meet their basic movement needs, there are so many gyms in most cities (small and large) adequately equipped to really have fun, using them would be a blessing in and of itself.
I was just visiting Tulum, Mexico with my son recently, and in that little town there were three decent gyms.
I’ve been to tiny towns of only three or four hundred, tucked among the potato fields and hills that had one or two gyms.
Regardless of where you are, a few rocks or a bag of potatoes makes for a fantastic functional gym.
Today, I wanted to share some tips for helping you or others enjoy movement in a gym, even when you feel too lazy, or when you feel board of your current routine:
1. Don’t Stress!
If it is your regularly scheduled gym/exercise time and you don’t feel like doing it, but you know you need to do it, try:
A. Start where your energy level is at: If you’ve had a mentally demanding day and your program seems daunting because you are too tired to both with all the technicalities, choose your favorite mindless exercise.
For many, that is a form of cyclical or repetitive exercise, such as a stepper, treadmill, or bike.
Cyclical exercises done at or slightly below the intensity that allows you to carry on a conversation while exercising induce meditative states.
This occurs because once the ego-mind thinks it has a task mastered, it becomes pacified. Many will not find themselves going into the empty, peaceful stated touted as the norm for meditators.
They will instead enter a day-dreaming state.
As long as you don’t get entangled in your daydreams and start analyzing them, and remain as a passive witness or observer, your intuition will begin serving you.
By just witnessing as though watching a TV show, you can “feel” without analyzing. This allows one to develop their feeling body, which makes them more sensitive to what they are feeling when faced with making decisions in the rest of their life.
Usually within 15 minutes, cortisol production is naturally stimulated.
Cortisol stimulates the part of the brain called the reticular activating system (medulla).
This naturally excites the sympathetic nervous system, elevating the neuromuscular tone of the body to a state I refer to as “readiness”.
At the point of feeling readiness, one can decide to keep doing what they are doing and enjoy some active rest, or they can take their new-found readiness into the workout scheduled for that day.
That leads to my next tip.
2. Start From The Most Important Exercise
If you begin with the above method, you can follow it up with this method.
If you like, you can begin right here by looking at the stretches, joint mobilizations and exercises you have schedule for your day.
Then, if you feel you only have half a tank of your normal level of readiness, you should consider cutting the total number of sets, or time in the gym in half.
Look at the activities scheduled, and do your best to choose the most important activity or exercise.
Then find the second and third most important ones.
Then, make an agreement to see how you feel after performing the prescribed number of sets, or 50% of the scheduled work time for a cardio exercise.
Once you’ve finished the first exercise or event, “Chek-In” with yourself and see if you feel up to one more.
Continue that until you get to the third exercise. Then choose to end and enjoy the active rest, or finish up. But don’t finish up on a self-inflicted guilt trip or any of that silliness.
Only finish up if doing so will leave a smile on your face.
3. Pump and Play!
There are certainly times when I’m traveling all over the world hopping city to city and country to country that I really do need to exercise, but feel like I’d rather climb under a rock and pretend I’m a crab!
But I know better.
On days like that, I know that just going to where others are exercise and enjoying the fitness lifestyle will stimulate me to participate.
When I get there, I go with the intent of helping my body and mind feel good; I know I don’t have any spare energy to “work-OUT”!
Therefore, I just walk up to anything in the gym that seems like a good play.
I may just start doing some creative movement on a cable machine.
I may put some weight on a leg press and straddle the machine and push it as though I would push a car to jump start it.
I may just go kneel on a Swiss ball and goof around on it for a while.
I may find a rowing machine and pretend I’m rowing on a beautiful lake somewhere and practice active imagination.
I may even shock the world and go use a pec deck, do some hamstring curls, and giggle at the terrible biomechanics of the machines, but know I’m learning something while doing something mindless.
Sometimes, I’ll grab a jump rope and see if I can still do the skipping tricks I did as a competitive boxer; if you see a bald, middle-aged man doing 100 double jumps in a row, that could be me!
I may just go to every section of the gym and make a deal with myself to create one new exercise from whatever is available there.
I’ll only do it with light intensity because my aim is to have fun and not have to think about weather or not I’ll get hurt pushing the edge of things.
I find that after about 20 minutes of playing like this, I feel much more alive and creative.
When my body feels happy and balanced, I leave with a smile on my face knowing that I’ve taken responsibility for loving the gift that the body is.
I know I’ve been part of a change that is beneficial for others to emulate.
I know that I didn’t have to bully myself to do it, but that I have the skills to improvise and adapt to my inner-reality so that movement is part of a lifestyle, not just something I do to handle my ego’s fears of being something less in the mirror.
I hope you can use these little tips.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that make life more livable, more beautiful.
Love and chi,