Exercise; It's Not a Dirty Word

As a Physiotherapist, I think I've heard every conceivable excuse for not exercising; some clever, some lazy and some down right funny.  I've even make a number of them myself, and I understand that there is significant amount of effort required to change our behaviour, and thus, it's hard to do.

I think that the word 'exercise' has something to do with it; there are lots of connotations, and it can mean so many things to so many people, but inevitably it seems to be something that is suggested we do (or made to) that is 'for our own good'.  This makes it easy to shove it down the list of important things to do, right down next to polishing your shoes.

However, the benefits of physical activity are too good to ignore.  There has been increasing amounts of research done on the benefits and they are far reaching; improved heart health, improved muscle and bone strength, increased flexibility, better cognition, less depression and anxiety, increased energy...it improves basically everything about us, and yet, so many people view exercise as a dirty word.

I think the fitness and beauty industries (or at least part of it) need to be blamed for part it for creating impossible ideals for everyone.  It is great that some guys can get great six-pack abs, but if that is what everyone's goal is, then the vast majority of people are going to be disappointed; and that is what we see.  This is especially important with weight loss; those who are obese are told they need to lose weight as a matter of course by health professionals.  While this has some truth to it, it is not the whole story, as it is entirely possible for someone to exercise and start to see a number of those benefits, but see no change on the scale.  So if their health professional told them to lost weight, did they fail?  That's what most people are going to see, to feel, and it is a huge shame, because they are quite likely to cease their exercise plan.

So what do we do?  Well, I think first it is imperative to change how we perceive exercise; or to even stop thinking in terms of exercise at all.  Some people may be able to stay committed to a gym program or a running regimen, but those people (99% at least) ENJOY it!  The difference...make it fun.

If you have tried running and hated it, stop forcing yourself to keeping plodding on in something you don't enjoy, because while your body may start getting some benefits, the mind is not going to reward you, and that is what most of us respond to.

So find some form of activity that appeals to you (hiking, swimming, skiing, tennis, squash, team sports, pilates, yoga, martial arts...the list is indeed very long) and find some other people who like it too, and you will be way more likely to stick it out.  It's time we stopped forcing ourselves with guilt or shame and attempting to conform to forms of beauty or fitness that most of us cannot attain, and start having fun while getting outdoors or being active in the way that is enjoyable to us!

If you have some past injuries or pain that is stopping you, then make an appointment and we can help you get back to what you enjoy!