Why Isn't Everyone Exercising Regularly?

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USA TODAY OwnIt


Lifting weights and performing cardiovascular activity are proven to enhance and extend your life. So, err, why isn't everyone exercising regularly?

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The three biggest obstacles I hear in my line of work: lack of time, body image issues and lack of know-how. So, let's tackle them one by one. Your spirit can thank your body later.

Exercise Obstacle 1: Lack of Time

Have you ever noticed that when you're conscious about being productive, you're More Productive? And that when you've got all the time you need you spread projects out? In order to "find time" to exercise, you just need to know that you're going to make an appointment with yourself for that one hour. Then go do it. If you don't make the decision —- and the appointment -— you won't do it. Simple. If you aim to exercise five to six days a week, you'll probably end up exercising three to four —- which is excellent. But if you only shoot for one or two times per week, once you fink out, you're down to once or the goose egg (zero). So, shoot for five or six workouts per week. No joke. Your body needs it.

Exercise Obstacle 2: Body Image Issues

Feeling self-conscious lately? So do I, and I'm a personal trainer. Why? It's no secret we're overloaded by images of "perfect" looking people. When we compare ourselves to those images, the irony is all too much and it overloads our common sense. Result? Instant lack of motivation. Let's change the conversation and start talking about what we can do, instead of what we can't do.

(Speaking of images, Pumping Iron, a documentary about professional weightlifting featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, forever changed the iconic image of lifting weights —- and not for the better. We still get questions about "bulking up" at our fitness studio. Ladies: You are NOT going to bulk up by lifting weights —- unless you're lifting very, very heavy weights and eating crazy crap. Translation: the weight lifting isn't the problem if you're gaining weight. Keep a food journal. You'll figure it out.

Don't worry about bulking up from lifting weights right now. As you get older, you need to lift weights to build muscle mass and increase your metabolism. Muscle is a dense, active fiber that protects your bones when you fall and also burns fuel (AKA calories) all day long.)

Exercise Obstacle 3: Know-How

When people first find our fitness studio, Pongo Power, we trainers find it amazing how few people list their aesthetic goals first these days. The first goal they usually talk about? "I just want to feel better." And they know -— perhaps because a doctor told them or perhaps from personal experience -— but they just know that they want to feel better and exercising regularly is the way to do it.

So sure, you don't know everything yet. You don't know exactly "how" right now. That's OK! Start simple and just focus on stabilizing your body and your spine when you start exercising initially. Don't do anything wild at first.

Focus on building the pattern and the habit. Make sure you're breathing throughout your workout, and utilize the tools that you have at hand. Your body knows what it needs. You'll find helpers and information along the way. But first, you have to go there to learn how to do it. The know-how will come along in time.

Focus on what you know right now: that you're ready to feel better.

Credit Image: © Cultura/ZUMAPRESS.com

By Elizabeth Pongo, Special to Your Life on USA TODAY's OwnIt

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