Does a day go buy without reading, seeing or hearing about the benefits and necessity to exercise? Gym memberships, dance classes, yoga studios and outdoor recreational clubs continue to grow from the increasing numbers of deconditioned aging adults. Those least enthusiastic about beginning this endeavor commonly ask the same question, “What is the BEST EXERCISE to lose weight and get healthy in the SHORTEST period of time?” The story of Goldilocks best explains the answer. You may remember, Goldilocks tried three different porridges, three different chairs and three different beds before finding what suited her needs in each category.
Some people initiate an exercise program by committing themselves to the point of excess. They approach exercise as an event requiring participation seven days a week at very high intensities. These people have a tendency to maintain this regimen for very short periods of time before returning to a lifestyle without ANY exercise.
Some people initiate an exercise program when time becomes available. This often leads to great inconsistencies from week to week. Most people attempting this approach find less and less available time for exercise and ultimately return to a lifestyle absent of exercise.
Some people initiate an exercise program by committing themselves to a “reasonable” number of days weekly (usually 2-4 days.) They begin exercising slowly to avoid pain from over exercise or injury. They perform these exercises for a duration that satisfies the body’s physical needs without interfering with their work and family schedules. They treat exercise as a habitual activity similar to breakfast, lunch and dinner. The routine frequency and duration make this method conducive to long term success. This exercise approach provides the physical and mental benefits while creating greater incentive and motivation to remain disciplined to follow the plan.
The next mental challenge is overcoming the concern for which exercise best achieves the fastest results. Where Goldilocks explained the first half of the story, “The Tortoise and The Hare” explains the answer to this part. Patience is a difficult concept to live by. We are more likely to reach our destination walking forward slowly and deliberately with our eyes focused on the goal, than running as quickly as we can blindfolded. When seeking the best exercise to achieve your goal, follow the advice famous baseball legend Yogi Berra would have given: “The best exercise to achieve the best results is the exercise that works.” Yogi Berra was famous for these silly quotes but truthfully, the best exercise or exercises are the ones you’re WILLING TO DO!” Finding activities and exercises that burn calories is crucial for long term results. Changing lifestyle patterns SLOWLY, reduces fear of failure while improving energy and overall attitude. Remember:
ALL EXERCISE’S WORK!
Finding exercises and activities you enjoy makes the process more pleasurable. The commitment to scheduling AND PERFORMING these exercises including frequency and duration is the key to beneficial gains; NOT the exercises you choose.
As the New Year resolutions begin facing another year of dismal failure, why not try the Goldilocks and the Tortoise and the Hare approach to successful weight and health management. This approach places YOU IN CHARGE. YOU create the schedule and the time intervals. YOU become the motivator that creates better self image and self confidence. YOU become the person unwilling to give in to old patterns of destructive behavior. YOU accept the responsibility using this ACHIEVABLE approach and REAP THE BENEFITS of this strategy.
Once committed to the process, new forms of exercise can be introduced later on to help fine tune your results. By the time you have reached this point, you will have already achieved, improved physical and mental health, improved function, a positive outlook on life and greater happiness.
Start by asking yourself, “what burns calories that I am willing to commit myself to?” Create a list for variety. Figure how many days you are TRULY willing to commit yourself to. Figure how much time you are TRULY willing to spend each session. DO NOT over extend yourself. Remember:
THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE!
Start slow and easy and gradually build as you become more comfortable. Whatever schedule you create, YOU MUST COMMIT TO! There WILL be days you don’t feel like exercising; push through these days and feel the sense of power you gain from the experience. Before you know it, the person you’ll be seeing in the mirror will make you cry with tears of joy. This will be the person you always dreamed about, but never thought you’d become. Congratulations ahead of time as you start this wonderful journey!