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Monday, July 18, 2011

Exercise or EXCUSEercise?

I'm a walker and a cyclist.  Every morning I walk my dog, Brody.  We go for about 30 minutes at a park near my house.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays I bike to work (7 miles round trip).  On the weekends and in the evenings I often take another walk or ride my bike.  I do it because it feels good and I want to.  I never have to force myself to do it.

Now working out in a gym?  That's another story.  I've done it before, but right now I don't have the extra time or money for gym work outs.

Do you know what? It doesn't really matter what sort of activity I chose to do as long as I do it on a regular basis!  I might have more muscle definition if I lifted weights or worked out in a gym, but from a health-benefit perspective, it is the doing that makes the difference rather than the activity!

So what do you ENJOY?  Are you a runner?  A walker?  A swimmer? A dancer? 

Are you trying to force yourself to do an exercise that you hate because you think you should?  I read a lot of posts from people who talk about how they haven't exercised in ages because they don't have time or they have to get up at 2:00 AM or because they worry about what people think of them when they work out.  I always wonder why they're trying to force themselves to do something that they don't want to do.  Wouldn't it be better to do something you DO enjoy on a regular basis? 

I think too often we select an exercise routine that we used to follow back when we were previously thin, but we often didn't have the same obligations then.  We might have had more free time because we were in college or didn't have kids, spouses, mortgages, etc.  But despite the evidence that it isn't realistic to attempt to embark on this routine, they pledge to do it four days a week, are unable to follow through, feel bad about it and do no form of exercise instead.  They set themselves up for failure.  And each week they pledge to start again, not recognizing that it isn't the right exercise for them.

So is your routine an exercise in excuse-making or is it the right activity for you?  Only you can answer that, but if you are having to force yourself to do it and are constantly skipping because you can't quite squeeze it in, then maybe it is time to pick a different exercise routine.  Maybe Nike had it right with the Just Do It slogan because the most important part of exercise is making it a regular part of your routine. 



Ronnie said...

I like this! I definitely have been excuse-ersizing for the past month or three. Thanks for keeping us honest, Amanda. :)

Justawallflower said...

Great post! I actually love working out, all kinds of it. Bike, riding, walking, lifting in the gym, but I have a whole list of excuses as to why I can't do it currently. In 10 weeks my excuses go away, so in the mean time I have to FORCE myself to do something!

Again, great post!

Stephanie said...

Great post, Amanda. I know for me, I MISS exercise. Not being able to do anything more than walk or ride a bike has killed me, but for the longest time, I felt like an exercise failure because I wasn't a runner. I know, pretty dumb, huh? I hated it, but I thought for some reason that running sort of like this major accomplishment that one is supposed to make when they lose weight. Then, after posting about it, someone told me, if you don't like it, don't do it! So I shifted my focus to doing things I liked and sure enough, now that I can't work with my trainer, I miss it. Funny how things work, huh?

Cat said...

I absolutely love this post Amanda. I have always been the type that needed to get up and get it done first thing in the morning, but I despise the DREADmill and that's the only cardio equipment I have at my house. I also don't like walking outside in my neighborhood because it's seriously hilly and my former 270 lb self couldn't handle the hills. I didn't have a bike then and couldn't really afford to purchase one. So yep, I made excuse after excuse until I finally found something that worked with my schedule and I don't want to scratch my eyes out of my skull. I still do fun pleasurable activity like biking or walks with hubby in the evenings or weekends, but my workouts fit in well with my work schedule and my Zumba class fits in well with my desire for FUN! So I'm much happier now. Thanks for this awesome post.

Amy W. said...

Mmmhmmm...yes. I have two thoughts on this one. First, I love lifting weights and doing circuit. But I didnt at first. I had to start seeing the difference in made in my body...and that became my motivation! But if I would have never started and stuck with it...I would have never got to the point where I enjoy it. It's like drinking diet soda when all you like is regular. OR beer. I used to hate beer. But you drink a little and pretty soon...TASTY! On the other hand, it probably does help off the bat if you enjoy it! hahah

Robyn's Nest said...

I am taking a pilates class, a yoga class, and a zumba class. I want to find what I love doing.
My daughter is a model thin runner. She NEEDS to run everyday. However, she reminded me that it took her over a year to get to that point. She forced herself to run in the beginning.
So I am not sure if you love exercise right away or you learn to love the exercise you choose???? I just know I will find what is right for me if I keep trying new things.

Miss Vickie "The Queen Bee" said...

I walk my dogs 7 days a week for 30 minutes. At least 4 days a week I go to my workout studio. I do Zumba, Ballet Barre, Kickboxing, Circuit, Core Crunch...etc. If I do not go to a class setting, I won't do anything. I feel like everyone is watching me and I can't wimp out! I am trying to mix up my routines to tone up and weight train. I actually do like it. I really HATE spinning!!!!Ugh!

MandaPanda said...

I agree AND disagree with this post. On the one hand, I do think any activity is good activity and it doesn't have to be at the gym, doing something you hate to count. However, sometimes the gym IS the only option for some people. For instance, with it being so blasted hot outside right now and my kids still so young, it's not easy getting a real workout outdoors or with them. The gym has become my escape from the daily hassles of home.

tagyourit said...

This is a great post. It took me awhile to figure out that if I did not like it that I would never do it regularly and that it was just wrong to force myself to do something I hate. I do like to walk, Lift weights and do yoga.