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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.

INCENTIVE
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!

 CHALLENGE
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!

RECREATION
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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