Regular exercise is good for you

Pretty much everybody knows that.

Even so, a lot of people have trouble either getting started or sticking with it.

I hear it all the time:

  • I don’t know what to do.
  • I don’t know what will work for me.
  • I got results but it quit working and now I’m stuck.
  • I don’t know how to get started.

One way to find and keep motivation is to identify “why” you want or need to exercise.

Obviously, to take care of your health is a good reason why. If you’ve had a serious health issue and exercise is going to help prevent that from happening again, that might be motivation enough right there. But …

Even in that scenario, ask yourself this:

WHY do I not want it to happen again? Think about it …

How about this?

You want to be around to see your kids grow up and get married, have their own family. Or you want to be around to see your grandkids graduate from high school, or college.

Maybe you simply don’t want to be so tired all the time. You want to have more strength and energy to do the things you like to do or used to do. Maybe your life has become routine and you wish you could find something to spice things up a little. Maybe you want to take up a hobby or sport or something that you’ve given up because the years have taken their toll.

Maybe you just plain want to look better and feel better.

Whatever it is, dig deep and figure out “why” you should get on a regular exercise program, and that will help give you more motivation to get started and stick with it.

My big why — aside from wanting to live a long, active life and maintain my independence — is pole vaulting.

I’ve gotten fairly good at it since I started four years ago, but I know I can get better. It’s something I really enjoy. Makes me feel good about myself, being able to do something that not a lot of people, especially older people, can do. The better shape I can get in, the better my chances are for improving.

Once you figure out your why, write it down. Put it on an index card or something and stick it up where you can see it every day. Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing.

So now, you’re ready to get started.

Now what?

One thing you can do to help is find someone to support what you’re doing. A workout partner. An exercise buddy. You can hold each other accountable; keep each other on a schedule.

Start slowly. Don’t overdo it in the beginning. Try 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week. Do that for a month and then step it up a little bit. It’s better to be consistent over time than to jump out to a fast start and get overwhelmed, or even injured. Take your time.

Find something that you enjoy. If you hate running, why would you take up jogging? I heard someone say a long time ago, “The first time I see someone jogging with a smile on their face, I’ll start jogging.” Walking is a great exercise. And it can actually be better for you than jogging.

Think about lifting weights, either at home or at a gym. Preserving muscle is important as you get older. Think about all the people who have strength-related functionality issues as they get older. My dad didn’t take care of himself and he started falling and breaking bones — his shoulder, his back, his leg. He wound up in a wheelchair and never got out of it. His health steadily declined and he also started having mental issues.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

If you’re not already, get out there and start exercising.

Let me know if you need any help.

Running sleds at the park.