For the past two weeks we’ve discussed how to positively motivate yourself to work out and keep on doing it past the usual New Year’s Resolution honeymoon period. But if making a date to do something special and making appointments to exercise is just not enough motivation for you, consider the alternative. If you don’t get moving and keep moving, it will get harder and harder to move at all.
This is not an overstatement. To see proof, just look at your aging friends and neighbors. If they’re not active, they probably complain of joint and back pain, which only causes them to move less. When the reality is, the more you move, the less pain you’re likely to have. An article published in the New York Times on January 11, 2007, titled “FITNESS; When It’s O.K. To Run Hurt” quotes renowned sports medicine doctors who go so far as to recommend exercising with an injury as a way to recover faster.
It’s well known that arthritis pain is reduced thanks to exercise. And the same goes for that pain in your back. It’s more often caused by sitting hunched over a computer (though sucking in the gut does help) than by doing squats and cardio. In fact, in third world countries where the majority of the population is not sedentary and doesn’t spend the majority of their time at a desk or behind a steering wheel, low back pain is almost non-existent. So get moving.
Even if it causes you some discomfort at first. Another alternative to exercise that I’ve yet to mention is weight gain. As we age, our metabolism slows down, so even if you eat the same amount you did when you were younger, you may still gain weight. It may start as a few pounds a year, but it quickly adds up. So your clothes won’t fit, your heart has to work harder, your blood pressure rises as does your chance for Type 2 Diabetes, your joints begin to hurt more because of the extra weight. Getting out of chair gets harder and harder, even fitting in behind the steering wheel is tighter and tighter. Need I say more?
So while exercising may not be your favorite way to spend your time, consider the alternative next time you want to skip a workout and settle in as a couch potato. Soon you may look like one.