Starting & Maintaining an Exercise Program

Posted by Lloyd on September 26, 2012

Now that I have you thoroughly concerned (I hope), I will try and help you develop the tools you need to make a lasting lifestyle change. Understand that this is not going to be a pep talk, we are going to deal with the real psychological, physical and behavioral issues that keep you from making changes in your life. Don’t worry, I will spare you the psychobabble.

Step One
The first thing you must understand or believe is that exercise is necessary, and in fact, required, for a long and healthy life. It is this core belief that will direct and “empower” you to a healthier way of life. So, if my reality check at the beginning of this article was not enough, I challenge you to visit your local hospital and see how many people are there because of chronic (lifestyle) conditions. Visit these people to get the brutal facts about the results of a sedentary lifestyle. Then, come back and read the rest of this article.

Step Two
The next thing that you must understand is that your body does NOT like change. Any deviation from what we call “homeostasis” is stressful to your body. While excessive physical, mental, and emotional stress is destructive, a limited and measured amount of stress is very positive to your system. The prime example of this is a progressive weight-training program. As you lift heavier and heavier weight (hence the term “progressive”), the body responds by becoming stronger. In doing this you are actually forcing your body to become better, stronger, faster, etc. This is a natural process. Your body is designed to adapt to change in a healthy way. However, left to it’s own devices, your body will become sedentary, atrophy, decay, and die. That is why you have a brain, so you can take control of your body and require it to do things that it doesn’t want to do, for it’s own good. Sort of like making a child eat their vegetables; they don’t know any better, but you do!

Your body does not want to change; and every time you exercise, you force it to change, particularly when you first start to work out. Your body is not defenseless in this process. Science has started to discover the link between the brain and the body. In a nutshell, this is how the process works. First, you exercise and it “feels” uncomfortable because your body is not used to the stress. This physical sensation gets transferred to a psychological “feeling” or perception. In the future, every time you think about exercising you get this uncomfortable feeling in the back of your mind. This is your body not wanting to upset the status quo. The good news is that, over time, your body does get used to the stress of regular exercise and these negative feelings or perceptions diminish.

So now that we know where these feelings come from, how can we deal with them? In the beginning, it comes down to will. You need to take control of your body and make yourself exercise.

Fortunately, as you continue to exercise regularly, it gets easier. As with anything, the more you do it, the more it becomes a part of you.

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