Pushing the Exercise Envelope
Some things are easier to change than others. You can't change the fact
that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. You can only very
seldom change the mind of the policeman who is about to ticket you for
speeding, and it takes a lot of time and money to change the color of your
house. But, how about an attitude? Say, your attitude toward exercise?
For some people, exercise is a chore. It's something they “have to do”,
and they want to get it over with as quickly and easily as possible. For
others, though, exercise is great fun! It's not an intrusion on an otherwise
perfect day; it's an activity which helps to make that day perfect. So,
what's the difference between these people? Attitude! That's it!
OK. We've established a requirement for a positive attitude toward exercise,
to make it a fun activity. So, how do you get that? How do you make the
change? Well, here are a few ideas.
Take a look in the mirror, and pick out something you want to improve.
Mentally direct your exercise session, and your thoughts about exercise,
toward that improvement. Speak to your trainer or aerobics coach about
what you might do between sessions to effect that improvement. As you approach
your goal and begin to see the results of all your work, that work will
become less like work, and more like fun. See yourself improve!
Some of us respond well to challenges. If we see a goal which seems
unattainable, we want to work even harder to attain it! If that look in
the mirror shows you something about yourself which you feel you can't
change, try viewing it as that sort of challenge. You can change it, and
you will change it!
Anything which we perceive as recreation, we tend to consider fun.
That's true even of such things as mowing the lawn, or digging a drainage
ditch. If it's a recreational activity, we'll want to do it. Well, most
of us like to dance, and much of an aerobics class is very dance-like,
so try looking at it in that light. If your exercise is cycling, even on
a stationary bike, take a little tour in your mind! If you do it at home,
rent a travel video and put it on the TV. Then walk on your treadmill through
Rome, pedal a bike around London, climb Mt. Everest on your stair machine...
you get the picture.
WRAP IT UP
The real purpose of all these ploys is to make exercise fun, to make
it something you really want to do. Once you are having fun, playing at
exercise, you'll start looking forward to that time, and try harder to
incorporate it into your daily life. Then you can start to push the envelope!
What does “pushing the envelope” really mean? Simple. Do it just a little
harder. Never to the point of pain, but, just a bit harder than you did
it last time. That's how you improve in anything in life, isn't it? Want
to become a better typist? Try typing at 85 words per minute instead of
80. Pretty soon, you'll be doing it regularly! Want to tone those muscles
better and faster? Grab a 3 lb. weight instead of a 2 lb., or pump that
2 lb. a few more times! Set the cycle resistance up a notch, or pedal an
extra mile. You get the idea.
Don't get discouraged, ever. Sometimes it takes a while before you start
seeing improvement. Sometimes, the improvement comes in some unexpected
place, too. In aerobics, for example, chances are that the first improvements
you'll notice are in coordination and endurance, possibly flexibility,
too. Those will take place before you lose any noticeable size, unless
you're overdoing exercise or not eating properly.
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