Returning to exercise after a sedentary lifestyle requires willpower (2023)

Returning to exercise after a sedentary lifestyle requires willpower (1)

Judgment Day is coming for almost all of us.

A favorite pair of jeans cannot be zipped; the idea of ​​gardening is exhausting; A walk around the block is enough to send you to bed. Even worse, you find out you have diabetes, had a stroke, or find that your weight is crushing your knees.

It's the day we realize the pounds are gaining and we don't look or feel our best anymore. It's a day when we realize we need to move. However, many people are still not taking action.

There are many reasons to avoid exercise. According to Michael Gerrish, a Boston-based exercise physiologist, personal trainer, and consulting psychologist, the most common reasons fall into three categories: emotional blocks, physical challenges, and poor exercise techniques that cause pain, long-term injury, or boredom. . .

"What if your setbacks were also blessings in disguise, signs to not give up on your goals but to pursue them in a different way?" Gerrish writes in his new book:When training is not training.

He advises identifying the hidden blocks that keep you stable. Overcome the physical and emotional blocks and the problem will go away, he argues.

Shiavi Riley, a substitute teacher from Detroit, deliberately did not approach returning to sports with this in mind. However, his experience shows that he has overcome some hidden obstacles.

Riley, 35, returned to walking twice a day last month as her health and emotional lethargy hit rock bottom.

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"My thighs rubbed so often that I got a big rash on my legs. My knees hurt," says Riley. "I spoke to a friend who is an avid cyclist and she asked me what kind of exercise I do. She said the problem wouldn't go away on its own, it would probably get worse."

Riley hadn't exercised regularly in nearly 10 years.

"After having my daughter, I fell into a depression," she says. “It never occurred to me that there is a connection between the mind and the body. The worse I felt, the less I wanted to move. Instead, I ate everything that wasn't tied up. My favorite was Baker's Square Lemon Pie.”

Her 9-year-old daughter's words burned into her brain: "Mom, please don't eat all that candy, I want you to be okay," Riley recalled. She called her friend Karmeta Denson, 26, who was willing to drop a few pounds and flex her muscles because all her clothes were tight.

Gerrish suggests that working out with a partner is one of the best ways to get back in shape, as walking or lifting weights with someone is less boring than doing it alone. An understanding friend who reinforces your exercise goals is also especially helpful when your friends and family are making fun of you and creating another emotional block for you.

And don't watch too much TV, warns Gerrish, noting that the screen is full of perfectly sculpted young bodies. Riley doubts she'll ever be skinny; She just wants her blood pressure to go back to normal.

For many people, a busy lifestyle seems insurmountable until something breaks their routine.

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Dotty Kenny of Farmington Hills started making time for a four-day fitness program three years ago after a rude awakening. He was taking a second piece of cake when a bridge buddy said he had a fat ass.

"I've spent most of my adult life taking care of others, my kids, my parents, my husband. I just didn't have time for myself," says Kenny, noting that he's never exercised in his life. "I was frankly embarrassed by the way I looked. The bridge player sent me to Beaumont and suggested I prioritize health."

Kenny, 69, trains for an hour four days a week at the Beaumont gym with others on an intensive diet and exercise program. He lost 40 pounds and kept it off.

“I pass six other gyms on the way here,” he says. "I can't imagine working out in one of those places with mirrors everywhere and tiny women in thongs."

"Exercise doesn't have to be a formal, time-consuming program to bear fruit," says Martin Lillystone, exercise physiologist and director of the Center for Weight Management at William Beaumont Hospital in Birmingham. Works with people 40 to 200 pounds overweight.

He hears people complain that they don't have a full hour, they don't have the opportunity to work with many different machines. In the blink of an eye, they could easily circle the block, take the stairs to the house several times, and park at the back of the mall instead of the front. Starting to exercise prepares the body for more strenuous activities. Lillystone says that an ideal exercise routine burns 2,000 to 3,000 calories a week.

"The main cause of obesity today is a sedentary lifestyle," he says. "People give me many reasons, but the main cause is probably advances in technology that allow us to be sedentary."

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When people decide to change their lifestyle, they are often disappointed and wonder why they don't look like movie stars after a month of hard work.

"I tell people they have a good chance of gaining strength, relieving arthritis symptoms and lowering blood pressure," says Lillystone. "It might not show results on the outside, but they'll feel better everywhere."

No single catalyst is driving people out of the local gym, outdoor park, or weight-loss center. Beaumont participants often say they returned to exercise because of diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, lack of muscle tone, and a desire to achieve general well-being.

"The reasons are individual," says Lillystone. "Life shakes them up and they realize they have to start moving."

Love prompted Dave Baker of Macomb Township to buy a bike and join an eastern club that offers rides most nights of the week. He met a female cyclist and was enthralled by her stories of friends and camaraderie. He envied her enthusiasm for being in shape; It didn't come close to the same physical euphoria he felt bowling and drinking beer with his friends.

While the romance fizzled out after a few months, his love of cycling led him to train in several100 km bike ridesand plan your entire summer around cycling.

“Exercise does wonders for your mind. You feel younger, more alive," says Baker, 55.

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He had the good sense to consult experienced cyclists on how to climb hills, maintain pace on long rides, and stretch after each workout.

Author Gerrish points out that poorly planned warm-ups, improper use of equipment, lack of variety in your workout routine, obsession with burning calories, and over- or under-training can all lead to injury or fatigue, thus thwarting your best efforts to stay in shape. .

"I wonder what people think every time I see what they do at the gym," he notes. "I see them on rock climbers or ladder climbers, hunched over, buttocks in the air, stretching their backs, necks and wrists in ways that are sure to cause them pain... I see people jumping on treadmills and bicycles, with none. "Warm up, freak out a little bit and then jump right away."

It's easy to get help moving again, says Baker.

“You look to the club for people who are winners, who ride their bikes with skill and fluidity, and you look to them for help. Most people will be happy to train you if you are willing to listen.”

What's stopping you?

Many things create obstacles to getting in shape. What's in the way? Gerrish suggests that several factors create unknown fitness hurdles that thwart our best efforts.

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  • psychological concerns: Chronic depression, unsupportive family members, and excessive stress often defeat you before you even start. Recommendation: See a therapist, try mood-enhancing medications like Prozac, and imagine yourself enjoying exercise.
  • appearance obsession: The fear that everyone will look better and be more agile at the gym or in the park thwarts the best of intentions. Recommendation: Watch less TV and less videos where all the stars look perfect. Most gyms cater to a variety of people of all ages and sizes.
  • common misalignments: Right after starting a routine, your muscles will ache and your back will cry out for mercy. Recommendation: You may be training too hard. Consult a personal trainer who specializes in people recovering from inactivity. Visit a chiropractor or massage therapist to align your body and relieve pain. You will feel healthier all around.
  • boredom: Walking an outdoor track or trail repeatedly can make you feel like a hamster in a cage. Recommendation: Vary your routine. Try water aerobics, ball aerobics and strength training classes, inline skating, rock climbing and kayaking. Find out what best fits your personality and schedule.
  • food and chemical allergies.: If you don't have the energy to sustain a simple walk around the block, you may need to see a nutritionist or doctor. Recommendation: Clean your vents and buy an air filter to reduce sneezing and coughing, eat a healthier diet to keep moving like vegetables, lean meats and fruits.
  • there is no more time: Too often, people get mired in worries about aging parents, children, and a myriad of community concerns. Physical activity is last on the to-do list. Recommendation: Get a sparring partner or take a class so someone else looks forward to seeing you regularly. Notice how much more energy you have for other tasks when you take the time to exercise.
  • Inadequate warm-up exercises, exercise routines.: some people try to cram an hour of exercise into 15 minutes, faster and more intense thinking will allow them to reach their ideal weight faster. Rather, they can injure the muscles. Recommendation: Start with a 5-10 minute cardio workout to get your heart rate up, stretch for 15 minutes, then move on to a more active program. Start with the low setting and work your way up. The tendency to get better quickly can also lead to burnout.

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