If I were to ask you to list all of the reasons why you DON’T exercise, I bet I could name the top 5:
1. Too busy/not enough time
3. Don’t like it/not interested
5. Unsure of how to start/what to do
And what if I asked you if your life depended on daily exercise and movement in order to THRIVE? Not survive…but thrive. Would you still offer up a plethora of reasons as to why you aren’t taking daily walks, or doing yoga, or swimming, or lifting weights, or…or…or…?
Here’s the deal. It’s TOTALLY ok if you don’t want to exercise. I get it. It’s not fun. And life is already soooooo friggin hard. But if you pause for a long breath, and take a deep look within at the quality of your life right now, are you thriving? Please trust me when I say that if we want to THRIVE and not just SURVIVE we must put in daily deposits of purposeful movement and exercise.
I’d like to introduce to you Donna. Donna is one of my clients that I’ve been working with for almost a year-and-a-half. I meet with her twice a week in her home. We work out with weights, resistance tubing, & balls. We go on walks, work on balance and other strength exercises, and we stretch. Most people don’t LOVE meeting with me because they know I’m going to make them work. Even though my glowing personality, and effervescence are always 100% on point, (not) I’m still not everyone’s favorite person believe it or not. I’m going to help clients and students find their edge, and push them right up to it, and often just passed it. I’m going to ask people to try new things that are often scary, or challenging. Donna’s case is no different. Except for the fact that she’s 91 years old.
Yup. Niney-freaking-one, people. Most days she is very tired and often feels weak and just run down. She’s got some arthritis pain in her shoulder, and has had some injections in her back for pain do to multiple fractures over the past few years. Other than that she’s in perfect health. But SHE’S OLD!! And therefore, things are tough for her. Getting up and down from chairs takes a lot of effort. Walking takes so much of her energy. And due to some of her struggles with pain on certain days, just moving around is a challenge. But not ONCE have I EVER heard Donna utter a single complaint to me during our sessions. She NEVER says “I can’t do that” or “I don’t want to do that” or “please don’t make me do that!” Trust me, I know she pretty much hates it all, but thanks to the encouragement of her super amazing children, she sticks with it. Some days I don’t even get her out of her chair. Other days, we walk all the way to the end of the driveway and back. But every time I come, WE MOVE.
As I mentioned, most days she’s VERY TIRED. But once we start some conversation and some movement she perks up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve finished our session and she feels more energetic; walks more upright; looks “brighter” in her face; and just plain FEELS BETTER she says! Again, we could blame it all on my Pollyanna Sunshine demeanor, OR we could just say that movement brings vitality to our body and our brain. (I think I’ll stick with that reasoning…even though I AM a constant ray of sunshine!)
I share this story for many reasons. I want you to know that no matter what your ailments, struggles, issues, excuses, problems, worries, stressors, circumstances, or situation YOU CAN EXERCISE! Even if you truly can’t physically move, you can exercise your mind. Stretch your mind and meditate. If you’re unable to walk, ask a loved one for assistance to get outside for fresh air and practice deep breaths. Sit in your chair at work or at home and do arm circles! Choose to move with purpose, and ON purpose.
I hope that if you’re reading this you’re inspired to look at Donna’s story and realize that this is hard work. No matter your age, health issues, or background, choosing to exercise, or work out is not easy! It just takes a decision. Say the words out loud. Write it down. Commit. Decide that you want to THRIVE. Not just survive.