I did not start this blog to preach to anyone about becoming active. In fact, I didn’t start this blog to preach about anything! I started this blog to inspire, to spark a fire somewhere within you to want to make your life better. My posts are filled with tough love and things that make you think because I want you to improve your own life, but I want you to do it because you’ve found that desire within yourself.
As a society, we don’t put much of an emphasis on moving. Depending on your line of work, you may sit at a desk for the majority of your shift. Driving a car requires sitting, and we also do a lot of that. Conveniently, a lot of the activities that we like to do (such as binge-watching a series while laying 4 blankets deep on the couch) are sedentary activities. We don’t strive to become slow-moving, we just happen to find more comfort in wearing soft fuzzy pyjamas than we do in lifting a barbel repeatedly over our heads.
The good news is, we don’t have to lift a barbel repeatedly over our heads. Nope, you read it right. You can if you want to, don’t let me stop you. However, my goal today is not to guide you in the direction of picking up a cold metal plate and beginning the hardest performance of your life. No, no, no.
I just want you to stand up and stretch. Yep, right out of your seat. Feel your shoulders fling back behind you. Let your spine curve like a cat, feel all your little muscle fibres stretch. Moving shouldn’t be looked at as a chore, but something you truly need to incorporate into your life.
You don’t need me to sit here and preach the statistics of what happens to your body when you don’t move (cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, muscle atrophy, etc.) You can surf the web and draw your own conclusions for your own viewing pleasure, but the fact of the matter is that we as North Americans are not moving nearly as much as we should be. We sort of kind of run into problems with this because the human body was designed to move. Our design does not permit hours of sitting on end or countless hours spent in bed (not sleeping, just lounging).
Now here I come in, with the simplest task of all to get you to move. Go for a walk. Just go. I know, a little anticlimactic but bear with me. If you are lacking in the fitness department and don’t even know where to start, just go for a walk. Seriously. It is the simplest thing you can do and the first stepping stone into getting into a regular routine.
Go for a ten minute walk around your neighbourhood. If you can tolerate that, go for another one tomorrow. Do this a few times a week until you can work it up to every day. Then go for twenty minutes. Take the second lap around the block, bring the dogs, venture out onto a street you’ve never walked along. Do that everyday until you feel like you can take on more. Then try thirty. What is half an hour of you day? Half an hour of getting your blood pumping around your body, getting your heart rate up and releasing the feel-good endorphins that happen when we exercise.
If I’ve lost you and you think that a walk isn’t going to solve all your problems, then let me shed a light on what is really happening. The first day you walk, you’re spending ten more minutes moving than you were yesterday. That’s already an improvement from yesterday. When you keep doing this ten minute walk, day after day, you build endurance. This means you will be able to go on longer walks without feeling like your body is going to be overly taxed. Okay, so in addition to improving our bodies each day and building endurance, we also start the process of creating a habit.
Creating a habit is what I really want you to take away from this. A ten minute walk one day isn’t going to solve your problems for tomorrow. But, it puts you one step closer than it did the day before. By consistently repeating a small increment of exercise, you will gradually increase as you naturally become accustomed to that level of exercise. If you keep at this everyday, you will continue to improve your mental and physical well-being.
So, if you were at all thinking of starting a new fitness regime (it is that time of year where those thoughts creep up), then definitely by all means go for it. But I’m telling you to start small. Doing one super intense workout and then being too sore to go back to the gym for a week is sort of defeating the process. Taking one big leap and overshooting our abilities not only leaves us depleted, but also often deflated. We take on too much too fast and then end up disappointing ourselves when we don’t quite achieve the results we wanted to.
If you takeaway anything from this post, I want you to takeaway the significance of one small action turning into a lifelong habit. Take the one step today to improve your physical health and well-being by literally taking the first step out of the door and around the block. Marathon runners don’t happen overnight, they started with one small step out the door.
What do you think of taking one small step to change your life? What small step did you already take that changed your life? Let me know in the comments!