We all know the benefits and rewards of exercising : it helps to keep body weight under control and to maintain a shapely figure; it promotes sound sleep, controls blood pressure and diabetes; it improves the free flow of blood thereby preventing arthritis and it even improves brain functioning. In general it promotes health and happiness and slows down the process of ageing.
However, most of us adults would prefer to sleep in or to sip a hot cup of tea watching a morning TV program rather than to sweat it out to get rid of some extra calories.
The end result is fine but the process of exercising is such a bore that many of us give up soon after we start on an exercising program. That is, unless we manage to make exercising fun!
People in the 35-plus age group want to have flat tummies, narrow waists and shapely thighs. Most of us in this age group start exercising with great enthusiasm but sooner or later most of us abandon it. What happens if an adult starts exercising but stops abruptly?
Vimi, who is 30 years old became overweight after her second child. For her height of 5’1” she weighed 67 kilos. On the other hand, her husband was trim and handsome weighing just 57 kilos. People began to crack jokes comparing the two. Vimi then decided to reduce her weight with vigorous exercise. She started jogging, stretching, bending and doing aerobics. In her over-enthusiasm she did it for hours together in the first week itself. As a result, she got severe body pain and pulled a muscle on her thigh and she had to consult a doctor. Vimi lost all interest in exercising. She stopped it abruptly. But then her problem became worse than before. She put on more weight and her limbs became swollen. (Also read Perils Of Exercise)
At the age of 50, Nair began to feel tired and depressed. He had excessive thirst and hunger. A medical check-up and blood test revealed that he had diabetes. Nair was the principal of an engineering college and he had to put up with a lot of tension in his administrative job. Drugs, medications and diet controlled his blood sugar but Nair did not feel cheerful and confident. He then decided to change his lifestyle. Till now Nair had liked to spend his time reading books, watching movies and solving crossword puzzles. He was always glued to a chair. He now decided to be less sedentary in his habits. ( Also read Lazy dude’s guide to staying fit.)
He began to exercise. At first it was brisk walking and then jogging. Gradually he increased the duration and speed. After consulting his doctor he also did some yoga. Initially he got body pains and felt bored doing the exercises. But Nair persisted. Within a month he got used to it and began to enjoy it. Now his diabetes is under control and he has reduced his medications considerably.
Indira was advised to do neck and shoulder exercises to get relief from peri-arthritis. Exercising was painful in the beginning but she did not stop doing it. After a week the pain decreased and she felt more comfortable than before. However once the pain disappeared, she stopped doing the exercise as she forced herself to believe that she had no time for such a frivolous activity. Within 3 months, the pain returned with more intensity and she had to suffer great agonies. She had to start exercises once again and also to undergo physiotherapy for a year.
Indira learnt her lesson. Now she tries to squeeze in some time for exercise despite her busy schedule. She has given up her sedentary lifestyle, fired her maid and has started doing household chores like sweeping, swabbing and gardening all by herself to become fit. (Also read Exercise for the homemaker). She has also taken to walking and has become addicted to it. Besides she does some light stretching exercises while watching Television too.
If we take certain precautions, we can prevent ourselves from becoming exercise drop-outs.
The first and foremost thing to remember is that there should be mental readiness and determination to do exercises regularly and punctually. For this some brainwashing has to be done. We should remind ourselves of the rewards and benefits of doing exercises. One should remember that health is wealth and that without a trim figure you cannot have an impressive personality. A strong determination helps one to overcome the initial difficulties of body pain, boredom and depression. Also read Will Yourself Slim.
At the initial stage, vigorous, prolonged exercising should be avoided. Your body which is not used to strenuous workout will revolt and you could experience muscle cramps or even sprain. So one has to make the body agile and flexible with brisk walking, stretching and bending. The intensity, speed and duration of exercise should be gradually increased. If at anytime while exercising one feels ill-at-ease or breathless, it should be stopped at once and a doctor should be consulted.
If you are new to exercise your body could revolt initially and you might end up with a few aches and pains. But let that not dishearten you or discourage you from exercising.
For any 40-plus individual, the first few days or even weeks could cause severe pain, depression and boredom. It is at this stage that one should use one’s will-power and determination to persist. After exercising one can indulge in some enjoyable hobby or pastime but this should be done only after finishing the exercise. This gives relief from boredom and strain.
Many people feel lonely and bored while doing the exercises alone. It is less boring to exercise in a group as watching others do the exercise makes one feel encouraged and inspired. (Also read How to Pick the Best Exercise Class.) In a family all the members can do the exercises together. One’s best exercise companion can be one’s close friend or spouse.
The monotony and strain of exercising can be reduced if one exercises to the rhythmic tune of one’s favorite music. Listening to music provides the necessary diversion.
Once in a while lapses are bound to occur due to health setbacks, lack of time or social pressure. One need not bother about such lapses but one must ensure that these lapses do not become a regular feature. Prolonged absence from exercising affects the desired result.
An important point to bear in mind is that those who have crossed 35 years of age should consult a doctor before doing any strenuous exercise. Those with heart ailments, backache, stomach pain, diabetes and high blood pressure should definitely get a nod from the doctor to pursue some form or exercise and should follow his/her advice and guidelines scrupulously.
It is important that all those who are past 30 exercise regularly. Be an exercise freak; do not give up exercising after the initial euphoria dies down. Do not be an exercise dropout.
(Guest Post by Neeru)
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