2011 – the year to move it, move it

What does ‘getting fit’ mean to you? How many of us have made the New Year’s Resolution “I must get fit this year”?

Well, we’ve had a break from our usual routines, hopefully enjoyed the festive season – eaten and drunk a little more than usual – and relaxed in the glorious weather. Holidays are a wonderful time to lie back, read a book (not work related), have an afternoon siesta, and catch up with friends and family. Inevitably, thoughts turn to the year ahead, and what we want to achieve – being able to lose a some of those ‘wobbly bits’ would be nice. Keeping – or getting – the weight down would be nice, even if our age is hitting a new high. Improving self-esteem, improving our sex life (or even having one), improving our general health – all of these things are impacted by our fitness level. Put simply, improving our fitness level can help us achieve our goals.

We all know being fitter is good for our general health and wellbeing. We’re constantly being reminded of it – by media, friends, family, doctors and trainers. We know it helps with weight reduction, lowering blood pressure, dealing with stress, strengthening bones, strengthening our heart, blah, blah, blah. Sometimes, though, we are so bombarded with what we ‘should do’ – we switch off.

In the meantime, why do YOU want to get fit? Is it to run the Auckland half marathon, do triathlons, compete in a sports team, have enough energy to play with the children/grandchildren, or just get through the day without being so exhausted? There is no right level of fitness to aspire to. Nor does getting fit happen overnight or even in a week. It takes time, a bit of effort, and perseverance. Which is where the discipline comes in – especially if you need more than a bit of effort.

If ‘getting fit’ is an unpleasant, painful process, you are more likely to give up; life is often hard enough without choosing to make it even harder. So, try to find a way to make it fun – exercise with a friend, have a social catch up afterwards. A few laughs during and after the huffing and puffing can help keep you focused on your goal.

Exercise should be challenging but if you are feeling pain – listen to your body and ease up.
Having been a competitive athlete (a few decades ago), I am still conditioned to push myself beyond what is comfortable. Remember that old chestnut: ’No pain, no gain’? That’s not necessarily what you should be aiming for – although giving up on Day 2 because you’re a bit stiff is probably not your best solution either.
Learning to do things for fun, and NOT push too hard, is probably one of my biggest challenges for the year. I love being active, but I have to learn to respect that my age (grumble, grumble) and my work do not leave me much energy with which to exercise.

Like it or not we’re not twenty something any longer – and we have to keep that in mind when we exercise. In my industry talk of the Mind–Body connection. The mind may be willing, but the body – less so. Denial doesn’t work here……at our age if we push too hard, our body will simply not comply. In my case, my knees are very unhappy if I attempt to run these days. Listen to your body – the more the mind and body can work together, the better the results will be.

Decide why you want to be fitter. Write down your goals, then use all of your imagination to visualize the results you want to see. Never underestimate the power of the mind.
The next step is to decide how you can achieve those goals…..given your time/physical/financial constraints. The more realistic you are, the more likely you are to succeed.

‘To climb a mountain…..you only have to focus on the next step’. Again, and again, and again.

If you’re not already exercising, or have been unwell, it’s a good idea to have a check-up with your doctor. You take your car in for a Warrant of Fitness(WoF) regularly to make sure it’s in good working order, so why not your body? Maybe a six monthly body WoF isn’t such a bad idea. Mind you – I’m not sure where we would put the WoF sticker…

Those of you already exercising why not take some time reassess your fitness regime and see if it is meeting your current goals.

Those of you who are already fit – I congratulate you. It requires discipline and determination. I think I left my discipline back in England – after years of working, studying, and commuting 3 hours a day. Maybe I’ll try and find it this year…

“If you don’t use it….you lose it”, is very true. So, let’s get moving into 2011, even if it’s just a little bit more.

Having written this, I think it’s time to practice what I preach….and decide on my own approach to fitness. The old one doesn’t work for me now, and we all know the ‘definition of insanity’……doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

Let’s get fit together this year – and really enjoy 2011.

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