Committed to exercise

Starting any new habit is tough. It involves changing entrenched patterns and going outside of your comfort zone. Getting into exercise is particularly challenging as adds strange new surroundings (gyms, fitness centers, studios, etc.) and bizarre form fitting clothes (Under Armor and Spandex come to mind). Let’s say you get past all that and you find something that works for you. Great! But, the old adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” does not apply here. Getting stuck on one form of exercise will kill a fledgling exercise habit quicker than a trip to Golden Corral.

What I encourage is a commitment to exercise, not an exercise. If your focus is on activity in the general sense you can mitigate or entirely avoid the following pitfalls: inconsistent workout partners, canceled classes, inclement weather, layoffs due to overuse injuries, unexpected schedule changes, foreign environments (out of town or country), and missing/broken equipment.

Rather than taking this as an edict to do ten different things at once, what you should do is look at your exercise commitment as a relationship like any other. You have to stay open, flexible, and attentive. Invest energy into keeping things fresh and interesting. Plan for exercise but don’t be afraid to be spontaneous either. Sometimes the window of opportunity to get up and do something is fleeting and ephemeral. Not all the sessions you plan for are going to happen either, but if you accept that fact, you can simply look for the next opportunity rather than listening to the sad song of the world’s tiniest violin.

On the exercise science side, more well-rounded training routine will confer multiple benefits. Doing the same thing over and over breaks the body down where it is weakest. Trying new things, moving in different ways, and stretching the body and mind in new directions helps keep tissues healthy. Professional athletes who value their careers often participate in sports that are the polar opposite of their signature activity.

Upstart exercisers are not the only ones who can benefit from mixing it up. Just because you LOVE running, swimming, biking, etc. doesn’t mean that running, swimming, biking, etc. loves you back. Eventually, you WILL pay the piper! Rather than letting an injury sideline you, try something new and if you don’t like it, so what, try something else!

The most effective form of exercise is the one you will do regularly. The most effective way to exercise regularly is to cultivate an appreciation for all the different flavors of movement that the world has to offer.

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About Tony Fed

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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