There is certainly no shortage today of articles and advertisements urging us all to eat right, exercise, and basically take good care of ourselves, but sometimes it is not easy to get started, let alone sustain such good practices. Here are some common barriers, and dare I say excuses, that might be used to avoid “doing the right thing” – and some suggestions on how to overcome them.
What’s the incentive? Want to live longer, be happier, have more energy, and avoid illness? The list is much longer…as you probably know.
I am stuck in my habits. We all like routine, but you can, and should challenge your historical comfort zones. Don’t be afraid to try something different – many times I meet someone who tried a new activity once by chance, and are now they are totally engrossed and having a great time with it.
I don’t know where to start? The key is to start something – it can be simply walking on a more regular basis, plus there are so many organized activities available in the Midland community. Participate in a community event that interests you. If you need help, simply ask; or, check out mi-Vibe for a list of activities available from mi-Vibe members in Midland County.
I am too old. Remember, age is just a number, and you can basically talk yourself into being old at any age—don’t do it! It is never too late to start whether you are 50, 60, 70, 80, or even 90. I am motivated by people like this: Joy Johnson, 84, of San Jose, California, ran her 24th straight ING New York City Marathon in 2011. She credits her longevity to eating right, running about 50 miles a week, and doing up to 150 push-ups daily.
It hurts! When you do something the wrong way, or do too much, too soon, or use the wrong equipment, yes, it can hurt. However, if you learn correct technique, and progress in a gradual manner, your body will adapt and success is readily achievable. There are many great resources in our community to help you.
It costs too much. It actually doesn’t need to cost anything if this is a barrier for you. Walking for example is something you can do for free inside during the winter at the Midland Mall, or outside weather permitting in many places including City Forest, Chippewa Nature Center, City Streets, Pere Marquette Rail Trail, and much more.
I am too shy/I like to do things on my own. I cannot remember how many times over recent years that I have heard from runners and walkers who initially said this, but have now joined or formed a running or walking group and are now having a wonderful time through their regular group activities. Make it social and make it fun!
I have too many other things to do. Incorporate exercise into your daily activities. Instead of driving everywhere, try walking to/from a place you normally take your car; park at the far end of the parking lot; ride your bike versus driving. What else can you think of?
I don’t know how to sustain it? Set some simple goals…I am going to walk 3 days per week, for example (committing to walking with friends helps stay committed); join a new club; set a challenging goal; set mini-goals: I am going to exercise before I do the crossword; track your progress on a chart on the refrigerator; get a coach; brag about your achievements to your children/grandchildren—they really do love to hear it!
I hope these pointers help you…have a great 2012 and happy living!