August 7, 2022
How To Finally Get More Physically Active!
Many of us associate that phrase with the idea of being near danger! When we hear it, we freeze like a deer in headlights.
You’re watching a movie, and the hero, about to step on a trip wire, goes statuesque as the plucky, somewhat comical sidekick yells, “Don't. Move.”
Your friend incites panic in you when they say softly, “Dude, don't move! There is a spider on your back.” You go catatonic, praying to God it is not the jumping kind.
Can we all agree if spiders could fly, we would be more afraid of outside?
Whatever the situation that comes to your mind, if someone suddenly told you don’t move, you certainly wouldn’t think of positive circumstances.
The reality is a lot of our life is geared toward not moving physically. We have innovated our way out of the need for movement from a productivity standpoint.
Life is saying, “Don’t move!” But instead of us interpreting this as danger, we welcome it gladly!
Think about it.
Cars. Planes. Microwaves. Amazon.com. The internet. Indoor plumbing. Phones. Supermarkets. Door dash. You name it; we have it.
The chairs that we work in even have wheels on them and can swivel to minimize our movement! Unless you like to see how fast you can go down the hallway in them. Fun times!
Who else is guilty of circling a parking lot for an extra 5 minutes to find a spot five spots closer to the entrance? Raise your hand!
Now don’t get me wrong! I’m not against any of these things, for the most part. I am grateful for them all, and you should be too! The problem isn’t these inventions and innovations. The problem is that these collectively reinforce our genetic predisposition to move as little as needed.
Think about it. Something as simple as getting water. Many years ago (and still prevalent in many parts of the world), you would have to walk miles to access water, fill it up in a vessel, and then carry that heavy container back home. My family and I lived in the southern region of Africa and can tell this is still a thing.
Most of us can’t even lift the water jug to put on the cooler at work, much less walk 2 miles with it on our heads. I know I can't!
Now I’m not advocating we go back to that way of life or that we shouldn’t provide better access to water for those in need, but I am advocating that we build intentional activity in our lives to compensate for the lack of it.
A lack of activity is connected to various health problems physically, emotionally, and mentally. It turns out that being inside, moving very little, and looking at screens all day isn’t just bad for your spine but also your soul.
As we age, we lose strength and stamina if we are not actively investing in it. Our bodies require movement, activity, and struggle to flourish. This is wired into the operating system of our genes. We cannot escape it.
We have to intentionally program activity into your lives.
You Were Created to be Active
You don’t need to be an athlete, a gym bro (or gal), or a marathon-running hobbyist to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle. When it comes to this, a little bit really goes a long way.
Here’s the truth. If you’re alive, you have been given an initial health investment. Not everyone is born with the same investment, but if you’re alive, you have something. And I believe the fact that you’ve been given life communicates three things about your health in particular.
- You have agency: It is in your power to steward your health to grow and flourish.
- You have a responsibility: You owe it to yourself and those you care about to care for your body well.
- You have value: Life is precious, including yours, and should be treated as such.
So how can you begin caring for yourself by being active?
Steps to Becoming Active
It starts with asking some questions to get a sense of where you currently are in your physical health.
- Overall am I active or sedentary?
- How are my eating habits?
- When was the last time I went to the doctor for a complete physical check-up to see if I had any deficiencies?
- Do I have an illness diagnosed by a medical professional that I need to manage?
- Do I have ongoing physical symptoms that I haven’t gotten diagnosed by a professional?
Next, you need to have an honest conversation with yourself.
- What is my purpose in life, and how does my health impact that purpose?
- What am I willing to do to start making improvements in my health and activity?
- Who do I want to be, who do I want to be known as, and what role does my health play in that?
As you’re having that honest conversation with yourself, you may identify that your inactive lifestyle or difficulty reaching physical goals has come from a negative outlook on life or unresolved personal issues. Seek help from a professional counselor to work through these things. The road to health is not just eating well and being active. It starts in the mind for all of us.
After that, prepare to take action!
If you’ve tried the extreme and on January 1, you emptied your bank account, bought gym gear and supplements, joined three gyms, bought a treadmill for your home, and signed up to run a marathon, but by mid-February, your resolutions were gone, then consider taking more incremental steps towards improvement.
Most of us need to start small and get some wins under our belt. Then we build on that momentum.
On the other hand, maybe you’ve tried minor tweaks to progress, but that didn’t work for you. The truth is, some people are more geared towards massive shifts leading to sustained change. So if trying to go to the gym just once a week and a 5-minute walk every day didn’t work for you, maybe doing something extreme like Crossfit or taking a martial arts class is the kind of shake-up you need! Don’t count it out!
Community plays a huge role in success as well. If you have a group to support and push you, you will more likely succeed in creating real change in your life.
Lastly, whatever you do, start today! It is never too early to start taking care of your health, and it’s always too early to stop.
Maybe starting today is laying your workout clothes out tonight and setting the alarm for the morning so when you wake up, you’re ready.
Maybe starting today is calling a gym to schedule a visit.
Maybe starting today is going on a walk during lunch today or after work this evening.
Maybe starting today is doing a 5-minute workout video on YouTube.
Whatever it looks like for you. Don’t wait until tomorrow.
Like Apollo Creed said to Rocky in Rocky III, “There is no tomorrow. There is no tomorrow, Rock!”
Tomorrow is a magical place where 99% of all productivity is waiting to start…LOL. Today is the day.
If you’re looking for science-based fitness content that focuses on the whole person to help you, then follow me on Instagram! I regularly provide content through various platforms to help people grow in their fitness, both mentally and physically.