We have a running joke in our family in regards to Milo and Ryan. Every time Ryan asks Milo to join him for a run Milo gets this look of panic in his eyes. His 65 pound body tries to curl up onto my lap as if to say “Save me!!!”
When Ryan asks him a second time Milo runs and hides behind the big pillows on our bed.
How many of you feel like this when asked to exercise???
We have compared all the possible differences. Ryan only asks Milo to run when he’s heading out for slower/shorter runs so we don’t think it’s the speed. Ryan lets him sniff bushes every once in a while and tells him he’s a good boy just like I do. He runs the same route Milo and I run. It has baffled us for the longest time as to Milo’s behavior. But then I realized there was one glaring difference. Ryan starts running the moment he steps out of the front door. I, on the other hand, walk with Milo for about seven to eight minutes until we get to the park. I need that time to warm up and mentally ease myself into the idea of working out. I believe, Milo also needs that time.
How many times have we found ourselves not having exercised for the sixth week in a row and then decide “Today! Today is the day I’m going to start exercising!!” So we hit it hard. We hit it so hard we hate every second of it, and then our body reminds us for several days afterwards how painful that workout was. Despite feeling glorious from all the endorphins immediately following the workout, we don’t exercise for another six weeks.
Our subconscious is a nasty little thing, and it is oh so influential. The next time we think about exercising our subconscious will remind us how hard it was and how much we suffered afterwards. And it just takes one little subconscious reminder to sabotage all of our good intentions.
I’ve seen this over and over again. I’ve even seen it with my own kids. Bless my daughter’s heart. She wanted to head out for a run one day and decided she would do walking lunges for a very long stretch on the way back. She couldn’t walk normal for days, and I’m pretty sure that’s the last time she has attempted any sort of lunge.
I think most people picture the Biggest Loser with the contestants working so hard they succumb to tears and vomiting. They believe this is the only way to have an effective workout, but I’m telling you right now exercise does not need to be like that for it to be effective. In fact, I guarantee if you try and start with that level of intensity you will more than likely fail.
You just need to pick something you enjoy, start out slow and be consistent. You can walk, run, swim, dance, Zumba, bike, play tennis…anything…as long as you start out slow and be consistent.
My sister, Debbie, didn’t like exercise for as long as I can remember. She would occasionally ride bikes with her kids or go snow skiing, but regular exercise was not part of her repertoire. That all changed two years ago.
She signed up for a membership at the YMCA, and started by using the elliptical for 20-30 minutes at a lower level while she watched shows on her iPad. She did this about three to four times per week. She told me at first it was hard to talk herself into going, because it wasn’t part of her regular routine. But then I remember her telling me several months in she felt excited because she was able to increase the level and the amount of time on the machine. Now, she takes kick boxing classes and runs lines with the rest of the class. On her birthday, we found her at the high school track.
There are three things Debbie talks about with excitement and happiness 1) her family 2) her job and 3) her exercise classes.
She has never said what clicked and made her decide to join the gym, and I never really asked. But the changes in her since she made that decision have been significant. At first I could see it in her demeanor and attitude. In time, the changes on the outside started to reflect the change she felt on the inside.
From where I sit, I believe Debbie has been successful because:
A) She picked a form of exercise she would ENJOY.
B) She started out SLOW.
C) She was CONSISTENT. She picked a time of day that worked for her schedule and committed herself three to four days of the week.
If you are struggling to make exercise a part of your routine, you are not alone. I would strongly suggest you ‘Do it like Debbie.’
She’s probably going to hate me for saying that, but I can’t say ‘Do it like Milo.’ Walking around with a leash around your neck would just be weird.