Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The "can't" vs. "don't" attitude

When I talk with people about exercise ultimately the word "can't" comes up, and it makes me wonder is it "can't" or they just "don't" and why?

Some of the things I hear are the following:

"I can't exercise because my knees hurt, or my back hurts", or "I'm dealing with an injury from 10 years ago". Now don't get me wrong, I realize some people do have medical issues that can limit them, that's when you get together with your doctor and find out what you can do. 9 out of 10 times the pain and discomfort is due to lack of movement to begin with. When I talk to people after they have started exercising, they are amazed at how good they feel and that the pain is gone. Work with a friend or a trainer and have them help you figure out what you can do.

"I can't exercise because I work long hours and am exhausted when I get home", or "I am active at my job all day and I just can't muster the energy to exercise when I get home". I realize that people work long, hard days, especially in today's times, and you can be emotionally and physically spent when you get home, trust me, I know. The best way to counteract that is with movement. Exercise will help you relax and work off the stress of the day, so you sleep better and feel more energized in the morning. Rather than reaching for the bag of chips and a soda (or something stronger), go for a walk, do some light calisthenics, maybe some yoga or pilates, even if it is for only 15-20 minutes. If it fits into your schedule, try to exercise before work.

You may have a job that requires you to be active and use your body, but are you using it the right way. Probably not. If you have strong arms and shoulders and legs, you'll be able to lift & reach easier, and not depend on lifting and pulling with your back or other part of the body that is not meant to be used in that way; you'll avoid injury and/or feeling like you've been beaten up at the end of the day. Doing some resistance training where you actually train the muscles you should be using while at work will help you feel better and perform better at your job.

When someone tells me they can't, it's more like they just don't want to, for whatever reason. I seriously believe a person can do whatever they put their mind to, if they want it bad enough. When you start to say you can't, replace it with "can" and "need". I can lose weight. I can get stronger. I need to perform my daily activities better. I need to exercise for my well-being and that of my family. I need to alleviate stress. Try and figure out why you really "don't" want to exercise and confront it, take back control of your body and life. Believe in yourself and the power of your body. I know you can do it. I know it, allow yourself to know it. Ask family or friends for help, or work with a trainer, just do it, and "don't" not do it.


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