The Truth About Exercise, Part 2

Every one of these of people (millions) could have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of developing the condition they now have if they would have only exercised. Every one! Unfortunately, they cannot blame anyone but themselves. Once again, if you don’t regularly and consistently exercise, you will more than likely become a member of one or more of these groups.

Denial
Right about now you are probably starting to tell yourself all the excuses that have kept you from exercising. Not enough time, too tired, I don’t like it, and my feet hurt, etc. Sound familiar? I could probably take up an entire page with all the excuses that I have heard that keep people from exercising. However, these excuses are all related to the underlying problem, “denial!”

Denial kills millions every year. The idea that “nothing will happen to me” is a very common malady, which is very surprising when you think about it. For example, people buy automobile insurance and health care insurance in case they have a car accident or get sick. But when you really think about it, no one would purchase insurance if they knew that they wouldn’t need it. The idea behind insurance is that you know you will need it at some point in time. If not, you would not pay for something that you would never use.

I have seen and talked with many people who were hospitalized for chronic illnesses. Without exception, most of these people say that they should have done things differently to prevent the illness they now have. Then, a funny thing happens, once they get out of the hospital they go back to the very same lifestyle that put them in the hospital. Why? In the hospital there is no way for them to deny what is happening to them. However, consistent with human nature, give them a few months out of the hospital (assuming that they didn’t die) and they no longer feel the strong need to change their lifestyle to prevent future health problems. Back to denial! Sounds crazy, but it happens a million times over each day.

Starting & Maintaining an Exercise Program
Now that I have you thoroughly concerned (I hope), I will try and help you develop the tools you need to make a lasting lifestyle change. Understand that this is not going to be a pep talk, we are going to deal with the real psychological, physical and behavioral issues that keep you from making changes in your life. Don’t worry, I will spare you the psychobabble.

Step One
The first thing you must understand or believe is that exercise is necessary, and in fact, required, for a long and healthy life. It is this core belief that will direct and “empower” you to a healthier way of life. So, if my reality check at the beginning of this article was not enough, I challenge you to visit your local hospital and see how many people are there because of chronic (lifestyle) conditions. Visit these people to get the brutal facts about the results of a sedentary lifestyle. Then, come back and read the rest of this article.

Step Two
The next thing that you must understand is that your body does NOT like change. Any deviation from what we call “homeostasis” is stressful to your body. While excessive physical, mental, and emotional stress is destructive, a limited and measured amount of stress is very positive to your system.

The prime example of this is a progressive weight-training program. As you lift heavier and heavier weight (hence the term “progressive”), the body responds by becoming stronger. In doing this you are actually forcing your body to become better, stronger, faster, etc.

This is a natural process. Your body is designed to adapt to change in a healthy way. However, left to it’s own devices, your body will become sedentary, atrophy, decay, and die.

That is why you have a brain, so you can take control of your body and require it to do things that it doesn’t want to do, for it’s own good. Sort of like making a child eat their vegetables; they don’t know any better, but you do!

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