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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Making Exercise A Permanent Habit In Your Life


The latest MySurvey.com poll is about the touchy subject of exercise

I've been a member of an exciting survey web site for several years now located on the Internet at MySurvey.com. This is where I get to provide my own personal feedback on various new product introductions, give my reactions to potential marketing campaigns, and in the process, earn points towards a variety of cash and prize awards.

I'm certainly not getting rich or anything off of taking these surveys, but it's certainly a lot of fun playing a vital role in the rollout of new products to the market. Best of all, you have the option of NOT participating in any survey if you so desire. I LOVE IT and highly recommend it to you to try for yourself by signing up here.

One of the neat new features of this survey site is the weekly poll they started putting out there a couple of months ago. While it is by no means a scientific poll by any stretch of the imagination, it's always fun to see how people answer the questions.

This week's question certainly caught my attention:

"How often do you exercise?"

Since I started livin' la vida low-carb, the answer for ME is virtually everyday with a day off every now and then. Here was the list of answers people could choose from:

a) Less than once a week
b) 1-2 times per week
c) 3-5 times per week
d) 6-7 times per week
e) Never


In light of all the news reports you hear about how lazy and slothful Americans are when it comes to moving our bodies, I guess the survey results from nearly 100,000 votes are pretty predictable:

a) Less than once a week - 27 percent
b) 1-2 times per week - 23 percent
c) 3-5 times per week - 28 percent
d) 6-7 times per week - 8 percent
e) Never - 14 percent


WOW, some of those numbers are better than I would have expected them to be. But, according to the survey, 59 percent of the survey respondents exercise weekly, with 36 percent doing so a minimum of three times per week. That's pretty impressive in my book and I would be a part of that 6-7 times per week crowd. :)

But what about the other 41 percent who only exercise every once in a while or never (YIKES!)? And let's not forget about those people who voted that they exercise during the week by rationalizing to themselves that walking from the parking garage to their office counts as exercise. We're probably looking at 50-60 percent who don't have a regular exercise routine. As this recent study showed, we are in a very real health crisis in the United States because people just aren't exercising!

I work in an office building with about 300 people and our company is kind enough to offer a FREE employee membership to the local YMCA. What an opportunity for my co-workers and their family members to get a jumpstart on our weight and health management program. You would think most of us would be taking full advantage of this employee benefit, right?!

Unfortunately, I can count on less than two hands the number of people who go to the YMCA regularly. And that is so sad, isn't it? There is no charge for this wonderful institution providing exercise equipment and facilities for getting more active, and only about 2-3 percent of the employees even use it?! What's wrong with this picture? What's it gonna take to get people to take exercising more seriously?

This goes back to the question I had about those people who choose NOT to exercise. What gives? Well, as someone who used to be a part of that group, allow me to shed some light on the situation.

When you are overweight or obese, there are good reasons for avoiding exercise: IT HURTS, you sweat profusely and breathe hard, your muscles and joints get sore, IT HURTS, there's no instant gratification in weight loss or improved health, IT HURTS, it's too embarassing to be around other more physically fit people who workout there, DID I MENTION IT HURTS, TOO?! :)

I remember having all of those feelings in the first few days, weeks and months of starting my exercise routine at the YMCA beginning in February 2004 to correlate with my low-carb plan. The experience was incredibly grueling when I began which I go into great detail about in the exercise chapter of my book "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb." It wasn't fun, but I knew getting into this habit was absolutely necessary if I was going to be the eventual weight loss success that I so desperately desired to be.

For those of you who have read my book, you know the pain and agony of what I went through to make exercise a regular part of my daily life. It was something I wanted so badly I was willing to go through some extremely painful and sometimes humorous (I did something pretty silly one day early on in my weight loss because I was NOT going to be discouraged from exercising -- it's in my book!) experiences to make it happen. Will that be the same thing that others will have to endure? Probably not, but it is a possibility that you must be prepared to take on before you begin your serious commitment to exercising.

The most difficult aspect of getting in the habit of working out is making it a habit you don't even need to think about. For me, I MADE myself go at the exact same time every single day during my lunch break at work so I could never have the excuse that I didn't have time to walk on the treadmill. Oh yes I did and it was during lunch. Day after day after day.

Like a robot, I dutifully obeyed my own mandate to go down to that gym and start walking like I'd never walked before! Even when I felt my legs were going to fall off or that my heart couldn't beat any harder or faster than it already was, I pushed myself forward. All of those efforts eventually paid off and are STILL paying off for me today.

As time passed, I noticed this activity I used to dread horribly was actually becoming more pleasurable because of the weight loss and improved conditioning of my body. I would say after exercising daily for only 10 weeks, I changed my attitude about exercise from one of "have to" to one of "want to." That desire to "want to" is still just as strong today as it was just over two years ago when it became apparent this was going to be a major part of livin' la vida low-carb for me.

The euphoric feeling that comes from exercise keeps me doing it now. I feel better and can destress myself from a rough day at work by spending 30-45 minutes of quality time with the ellipitical machine. LOL! Even when I'm not feeling like it, I MAKE myself go a minimum of 30 minutes. I ALWAYS feel better after I do. :D

So here we are back at the question of the hour: "How often do you exercise?"

If you can't say at least three times weekly, then it is time for you to start taking your health seriously and get moving...LITERALLY! When someone as super busy as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice makes time for exercise, then SO CAN YOU! There's no good reason other than being disabled in a wheelchair why you cannot do SOMETHING to get your heart rate up and make your body sweat. NO MORE EXCUSES!

If you need some inspiration to get started, then you might want to check out "The Biggest Loser Workout" DVD with Bob Harper and the contestants from the hit NBC television show. I think you'll enjoy exercise once you get that habit going strong and this DVD could be just what you need to get moving.

Exercise has been shown in many different studies to lengthen your lifespan, work well with your low-carb plan, lower your cholesterol, and help you live a healthy and longer life as a senior citizen.

With the preponderance of the evidence pointing to so much good coming from something as simple as 30 minutes of daily exercise, then tell me what's stopping you from getting started on making exercise a permanent habit in your life? Stop thinking of reasons why you aren't exercising and just start exercising already! If it could help me lose weight and feel so much better than I ever have, then it can happen for you, too!

Make me proud. Better yet, make YOURSELF proud and create this positive new habit in your life. Please e-mail me if you decide to start exercising and need a word of encouragement to keep you going. YOU CAN DO THIS and it will literally make livin' la vida low-carb that much more pleasurable. GO GET 'EM!

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1 Comments:

Blogger Newbirth said...

I excercise 3-5 times a week. I go to the gym 2-4 times a week, and walk the last leg to work (1.5 miles) on days I can't get to the gym.

Oh...due to having to be on high carb right now I went for a run on the treadmill at the gym today. I went for a whole hour and ran 5 miles! Woot! Go me! That's a new record! :)

7/16/2006 10:45 PM  

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