There is no question that our health is an extremely important subject and should be a priority in our lives. One area where people create a barrier for themselves is the extreme NEGATIVE emotion placed on exercise. For many, exercise has been a miserable experience and often times began as a youth. Some individuals can do things physically with ease while others doing the same activity will experience excruciating pain. There are many biological, mental, and physiological reasons for the way we experience pain. We all process and feel pain differently and some people are far more sensitive to pain because of the way the brain and body function together. It literally hurts more because the pain sensors in the body are more sensitive for some people than they are for others.
Another factor in those that have a negative experience with exercise is the way that exercise is taught in homes, schools, and youth leagues. Unfortunately, many people have had a traumatic experience as a youth with exercise. They may be slower, not interested in the sport that mom or dad has made them join, been made fun of or bullied by someone, or had a coach that was more focused on building an ego than helping the youngster learn a sport or be healthy. Given the way many individuals have experienced exercise it is no wonder they hate it. It has been physically painful and even demeaning at times.
Time For Change
Ninety-nine percent of my personal training and life coaching clients will not set foot in a traditional gym or hire a personal trainer. They have had a negative experience with exercise and believe that when they walk into a gym they will be judged like always. Many are fearful that the personal trainer will yell at them, shame them, and put them through such excruciating pain that they will not be able to roll on deodorant or go to the bathroom for days. I actually have experienced personal trainers in the last 6 months who do this. I was laughed at, told to “suck it up” when I experienced pain, and felt demoralized on a couple of “personal training” occasions. And I am in decent shape. I felt like my trainer was beating his chest like some conqueror. I never went back, needless to say. We may not ever be able to change the egos of some but one thing we can do is change ourselves. Your desire for change will ultimately be the difference in the change you seek whether it be weight loss, increased strength, motivation to exercise, or eating healthy foods, especially as you age.
How to Change the Exercise Belief System
Our bodies need to be moved and challenged a little. We do not need to exercise crazily or do extreme and unsafe workouts. We should include both strength training and cardio components to be healthy. How do we do that when we have had negative experiences and hate to exercise? Healthy means safe and vigorous at your own pace. Here are the things that have worked for those people who I have witnessed make incredible change in the way they experience exercise::
- All accept that exercise is needed and beneficial. They understand that “30 minutes of pain” daily will lead to less pain as they age, make them feel better about themselves, and have a great impact on their overall quality of life. This does not mean that they put themselves through grueling workouts or get yelled at by some crazy trainer. They learn to listen to their bodies and are able to move forward slowly at a smart pace.
- All “get back on” daily NO MATTER WHAT. Many of us do not see immediate results and pretty soon we say “forget it” and/or “this doesn’t work.” Unless you have an underlying health issue eating nutritious foods and exercise does work. If you do have an underlying health issue, please see a doctor to fix it and then exercise and eating nutritious foods will work.
- All have a significant reason to begin exercise. Many feel better in the knees and back, think clearer, and like the way exercise makes their bodies look. Others want more mobility, to be healthier for family and loved ones, to play sports, or help with bone density. I like what exercise does for my head and my body. After years of experiencing depression, addiction and self-esteem issues, I feel free of these barriers in many ways due to exercise. It has changed my life and the lives of many others and can yours too.
Please see the benefit of exercise. If you have struggled historically to maintain healthy exercise habits, you are not alone. Move forward and become stronger safely. Practice working through the self-talk during exercise that will sabotage your goal of being healthy, strong, and high functioning. Honor yourself and those who care for you by caring for yourself enough to move every day. Start as soon as possible. If you need help seek it from someone who will help you without judgment. Be your own miracle!