Monday Musings...One Thing You Won’t Regret
It’s 0515 hours and the alarm clock goes off. I'm generally awake before then, so it’s my fail-safe if, for some reason, my circadian rhythm is out of whack. It’s dark outside and most of my part of the world is still sleeping, but not me. I'm ready to start the day!
Most people struggle with sleep; either they can’t fall asleep, stay asleep, or they can’t get enough of it. So, they hit the snooze button hoping for a few more minutes. Then, they drag themselves out of bed, get their caffeine fix to make them functional, and go through the motions of their day. And you wonder why people aren’t happy in their jobs, or find themselves being short-tempered with their kids, or procrastinate that must-do item on the ever-growing list of responsibilities. It’s hard to have passion, patience, or persistence when your mind and body are half-asleep.
Getting up in the morning IS hard to do. It is a daily battle that you must face, though the invention of the snooze button has convinced you that you can at least delay it. But it IS something you can’t avoid. Your body is even wired to force the issue, as your bladder let’s you know that you can only hold so much liquid!
The key to wanting to get up is to have a tangible and manageable goal that will kick start your day. For me, that goal is physical fitness. I know that if I get up, grab my bike, and make my way to the gym, I'll reap tremendous benefits, long term benefits. Physical activity not only challenges my mind and body, it energizes me for the entire day, and fills my soul with purpose. My head is clear, I feel optimistic, and instead of being exhausted from working out, I’m energized to the point where I can maintain the stamina I need throughout the whole day. I’m not a super athlete, or a Ninja Warrior (as you read about last week). I’m just an ordinary person who’s made a conscious decision to make sure my mind, body, and spirit are in line.
You know, I’ve never met anyone at the gym who leaves saying, “Man, I really wish I’d slept in today.” Or, “That was a waste of time”. Everyone I see leaves with a positive outlook and a fresh perspective to tackle whatever lies before them. Physical exercise is one of the things in this life that you will never regret.
We are forced to think about our health everyday. Whether it's the aches and pains that remind us of how frail our bodies really are, to the trending articles that come through our news feeds. Here's a few headlines I've seen lately: May 17, 2019, “More women risking heart health through lack of exercise” (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325203.php); May 22, 2019, “The benefits of walking and how to get the most out of it” (https://www.cbc.ca/life/wellness/the-benefits-of-walking-and-how-to-get-the-most-out-of-it-1.5145418); June 6, 2012, “Your boss should encourage you to take gym classes at lunch, health experts say” (https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/health/your-boss-should-encourage-you-16386218); how about this from June 11, 2019, “ McMaster study finds preschoolers who exercise are healthier later in life” (https://www.thespec.com/living-story/9430162-mcmaster-study-finds-preschoolers-who-exercise-are-healthier-later-in-life/) . It’s something you all know, your doctor is telling you to do, and the media is providing evidence about the benefits of exercise, but the masses are resistant and prefer to live in a Wall-E world of comfort and convenience on the couch.
If something’s so obviously good for you, why don’t more people take up the charge? I’ve thought about this a lot as I see people start coming to the gym and then suddenly quit. From my observation and listening to people’s excuses, it seems that the number one cause is lack of time – “I’m too busy”. It’s hard for many people to carve out the time to fit in the gym, or a brisk walk. And yet, you make sure you eat, shower, make it to work, and take care of your family. So, it really becomes a matter of priorities, managing all the demands on your time, and fitting it in to your daily schedule. That’s why making it the first thing you do in the day makes sense, before the busyness takes over. It may mean getting up earlier than you would like, but then you’ll get it in and you WILL reap the benefits I mentioned earlier as you go through the next 16 hours. It’s like a slow release medication that sustains you mentally, physically and spiritually as you take on the inevitable challenges the day will bring.
The second reason for the lack of staying power is that it just takes one day of not exercising or going to the gym, to start the slippery slope back into sloth mode. All of us have been there. There can be very good reasons to press that snooze button: you’re feeling sick, been up all night with a child, have an early meeting, are under a lot of stress and you’ve hardly slept…. But it’s amazing how one day, turns into two, then three, and before you know it, it’s no longer a priority and you go back to your old ways.
The third reason so many are content to leave things as they are, is that they don’t see results quick enough. I think this is a problem in so many areas of our lives. We live in an impatient culture, we want the quick solution, without the work. When it comes to fitness, there are so many gimmicks out there that ‘guarantee’ you flat abs without ever having to exercise: from diet creams you rub on your target areas that are miraculously changed with no effort; to body wraps that promise to take inches off your waist in a single session; to 'endermologie', the cellulite reduction method featuring a deep tissue massage using a motorized tool with rollers and suction cups.
I’m sure there are many other reasons people offer for not being physically active. It’s your choice whether you make it a priority or not, but truly, one thing you won’t ever regret is getting some exercise.
In order to enjoy true freedom, you need to take care of your mind, body, and soul – your whole being. These three are intertwined. Don’t fool yourself into believing they are not. Neglecting one area affects the other two. All three areas will require you to check your priorities every day. You will need to carve out time and commit to being consistent. If you fall out of step because life happens get yourself quickly back on track. Lastly, be persistent even when you don’t see the results you think you deserve. Today is the day to move from understanding to action!
Be brave! You won't regret it! These people didn't!