Changing Gears

The concept of being fit is a lot for us to handle; so take that notion, throw it out the window and start a clean slate with me today. With the holidays, the feasting and the “we’ll get back on track next week” mindset, most of us are always putting it off as something to do tomorrow. It’s the mental game that so difficult to get going and guilt, resolutions and scale watching just can’t turn you into someone who is fit–and happy.

Being fit is a reflection of an inner balance. I think its core is really about one thing: being happy with who you are. A vicious circle, you say? Perhaps, but one that is far easier to correct that you might think. We hear the exercise gurus talk about discipline, but for me there’s just one little trick to it, and I’ll share it with you right here.

The trick is to find things to do that aren’t work, or at least don’t seem like it. Sure, you buy that Bowflex or elliptical walker and in no time at all, it ends up in the garage covered with cobwebs. It’s not because the machines aren’t great; it’s because they lose their sense of fun. I tried these things and ended up staring at CNN counting the minutes. And continual news-watching, I guarantee, only negatively reinforces the idea that this is good. After the 2004 election campaigns, who can even sit through the news anymore? So rule No. 1 is to kill your television…well, you can still work out in front of the tube if you have to, but avoid anything that brings you down.

Another problem I always seem to have is battling my heroic ego. I want to get back into a regiment, but I try and do it all in one session. I think, “I’ll make up for a month of neglect tonight with a massive workout session.” And you can probably relate to where that gets you. Hot tubs and Icy-Hot may soothe the pain that follows, but more likely such a bull-headed workout will set you back. We ease into a sedentary season, so we should remember to ease back into a healthy lifestyle.
And that’s the word I’m really trying to get to: lifestyle.

To make it a healthy one, we need to find a happy place to go to when we work out. Easing into a better body is more possible than you think, when we start slow and do something that energizes our soul as much as our body. Walking around your block and catching a sunset, strolling on the beach or even a window-shopping session at the mall all wake up our senses–and that’s the key.Wh

en we add nature into the equation, exciting things start to happen. As we get out of our houses and see that the world is moving, living and growing, we make a connection that often gets lost. Walking turns into hiking, and leads you into the real Florida of our outdoors. Strolling turns into cycling, kayaking and canoeing. Connect with the outside and you get a reward. One good walk turns into another and then another… and that’s how we change our lifestyle.

As you start getting more fit, you might crave better food. Walk to Barnes & Nobles or the library and pick up a book on nutrition. A diet of fast food, overly processed carbs and sugars contributes as much to a sedentary rhythm as watching the news. Changing your buying habits at the supermarket can have a profound effect. New dishes contribute to the fun factor and add a variety that is often missing from our daily grinds.

Life can certainly get us down, so when you see repetitions and ruts, change gears. Find the things that both get you going and make you happy. When self doubt rears its ugly head, recognize the moment and get out of house. It’s so easy to find a reason not to workout. Be on guard for it, and when you see it happening do something and take your life back. Go out and live. Have fun and don’t forget the sunblock. And in the process, you’ll realize that your body’s not the only thing getting into shape.

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