Alert: Staying healthy is hard work! (no surprises there, right?)

by admin on February 17, 2011

I was teaching a yoga class the other day. We were more than half way through and had just finished doing a couple of sets of abdominals. It wasn’t necessarily a rough set of abs, but it was focused and sustained it its intensity. After we were done, the class collectively let out a groan/sigh of relief. For some reason, I blurted out, “Staying healthy is hard work!” and they all laughed. It was a laugh that to me signaled understanding and I believe (hope) they knew that I meant it compassionately. It’s the truth. Staying healthy is hard work.

I was thinking of this concept and opened up a magazine today that had an article on “exercises you can do during commercials.” It was a bunch of lunges and squats, sit-ups and twists that can be done in short bursts of exercise. It got me thinking about how we try to fit exercise into our day and make it as attractive as possible (“you can exercise during your favorite TV show!”) so as to encourage us to do it. I wonder; does that really work? Do those kinds of techniques encourage more people to exercise than if we didn’t try to present it that way but instead just told it like it is: “if you want to stay in shape, it’s going to take time and hard work.” I’m not sure.

I saw another article as well yesterday that said that the presentation of calorie counts on fast food packaging is doing little to change the food choice behaviors of most consumers. It seems that despite knowing the calorie, fat, salt and overall nutritional, consumers are still buying high fat, high calorie food. It seems that the ‘mask’ that has now been lifted on what makes up our fast food has done little to change our behaviors about food choice.

What this is all leading me to is the idea that maybe at the heart of it all, ultimately you need to want to make a change in order for change to occur. Whether you’re going to start a walking program, start eating more healthy, stop smoking, begin a yoga practice, it really doesn’t matter if you’re presented with a ‘fun’ way to do it, or it’s a “good deal” financially or you do it with others or by yourself, YOU are the central catalyst to doing anything. All the good feedback, positive reviews, detailed information doesn’t really matter if there’s not a personal spark or fire inside you saying, “This is something I need to do.” Take exercise for instance. Whether you practice yoga, run regularly or go to the gym, you know it’s hard work. All the promotions, cool slogans, interesting hybrid workout regimes won’t really hide the fact that it’s just hard work. But once you start doing the work and seeing the rewards and better yet, FEELING the rewards, you often can’t turn back. It makes an impact not only on you but on those around you, which is why often the more you love whatever you’re doing, the more people around you ask, “Hey, you look great. What are you doing?”

Maybe you already knew this. I don’t think I have to tell you that staying in shape is hard work. But I guess I was just thinking about it and wanted to share. That’s what a blog is for, right? So, do the work but relish in the rewards. Tend to your garden and you’ll see wonderful things take root.

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