If everyone acknowledges that exercise is one of the three foundations of a balanced and healthy life (mind, body, and spirit), then why do we stop exercising? Intellectually, it does not make any sense. If I told you that you can have more energy, sleep better, feel stronger, fight disease, control your weight, and be more confident, would you invest an hour of your day? What if it were fun, rewarding and created comradery? Would that make a difference? When viewed in this context, it is embarrassing that we have stopped exercising. However, this is not an uncommon phenomenon. Regardless if you were an athlete or just liked to stay active, most of us have stopped exercising regularly at some point (or have stopped altogether). There are many reasons we stop exercising – an injury, hectic schedule, bad weather, or maybe no gym access. Although these should only be minor interruptions to a life of exercise, many times they are the reason fitness slips from our daily routine.
When we stop exercising, we fall prey to both the physical laws of nature and the emotional fears of getting started again. Newton’s first law of motion, the Law of Inertia, explains that an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. In our case, the unbalanced force is the committed energy to get started. So in the natural world, once we stop committing energy to exercise and enter a non-committed state, we physically tend to remain there. As time passes and the period of inactivity extends, our emotional fears begin to prevent the commitment of new energy to restart a life of exercise. We may worry that it will be too difficult, painful, or even embarrassing when we begin. These emotional fears combined with the natural laws of motion create a formidable challenge to overcome.
So how do you get started – how do you create this unbalanced force and how do you overcome your fear? First you need to ask yourself the question, “Am I worthy of receiving all the benefits that exercise provides and will it increase the utility of my life?” The answer to this question is key. It needs to be a conscious decision based on both your current existence and how an active life may increase your life experiences. Once you have consciously committed, you have set a direction. Now you can commit energy to your decision, thereby creating the unbalanced force that will get you moving again. Your emotional fears, in the context of your decision to commit, no longer are roadblocks but issues that need a solution.
Once you have committed to a life with exercise, you are on the journey to a better life. Never get discouraged by your starting ability – it is not relevant. Anytime you doubt yourself, come back to that key question: “Am I worthy of receiving all the benefits that exercise provides, and will it increase the utility of my life?” Over time, all the benefits of exercise will be yours, and you will look back in amazement. Like all great accomplishments, it all starts with a conscious decision.