Parenting & Schools
Business
Happiness Exercises
Health
Relationships
Home » All, Goals, Habits, Happiness Exercises, Health, Motivation, Pathway 2 "Engagement / Flow", _2 Positive Traits

Personal Hygiene, Einstein, and Your Like-O-Meter

By on April 24, 2009 – 2:20 am  20 Comments

Marie-Josée (MJ) Salvas Shaar, MAPP '07, CPT, has studied, tested, coached, and taught smart health habits for over 13 years. Combining positive psychology with fitness and nutrition, she created a coaching method that builds better sleep, food, mood, and exercise habits, as described in her book, Smarts and Stamina: The Busy Person's Guide to Optimal Health and Performance, which includes 50 practical health-building activities. Today MJ gives keynotes for corporate wellness programs and offers continuing education for wellness professionals, who can license her Smarts and Stamina Online program. Full bio. MJ's articles are here.



Baby BathAs a kid, did you love taking a bath everyday? I didn’t. I even remember a day when I planned an elaborate scheme to avoid it. Needless to say, my mom saw right through my plan and I still had to get wet! Fast forward 25 years later, taking a shower is so ingrained in my habits that I couldn’t possibly fathom the idea of going to work without a prior healthy dose of body wash.

I developed a taste for exercise the exact same way. Although I always was relatively active, as a teenager I had an aversion for being sweaty and out of breath. When at 18 years old, a man at least ten years older than my Dad raced by me effortlessly in a 3-mile run, I realized that physical activity is an important part of personal hygiene. It is not the outside we are refreshing so we look good, it is the inside we are cleansing so we function well. To me, that was the tipping point when the excuses ended.

Last June I wrote an article entitled “Top 10 Stimuli to Exercise Your Body” which discussed strategies to make workouts more compelling. The present article should have preceded my Top 10 Stimuli, as it is addressed to people who contemplate starting to work out in the first place, a process I remember very well.

Einstein and Insanity

There is more information about the benefits of exercise available today than there ever was, yet 80% of American adults are too inactive to experience these benefits and an increasing number of developed countries around the world are following the trend.

As Einstein said it, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insane. So I won’t tell you why you should exercise. Chances are you already know it all too well and the appeal to logic has failed to motivate you. In fact, there may be so many sources telling you why you should exercise that it may inhibit your intrinsic motivation to emerge.

Rather, I’d like to help you understand why you may be resistant to take on a practice you know is good for you, and then provide ideas for how you can break out of the resistance.

Your Like-O-Meter at Work

Wild Elephant In his book The Happiness Hypothesis, Jon Haidt explains that our processing and decision-making abilities function much like a rider on the back of an elephant. The rider – representing our logic – can control the direction in which they are headed, but only as long as the elephant – representing our instinctive and emotional thought processes – wants to comply. When the elephant has desires of his own, whether the rider asks, pulls, begs, cries or shouts makes no difference: they are still headed in the direction the elephant pleases.

For many, personal experience has proven that physical activity is code for pain, sweat, difficulty, discomfort and clumsiness. If that’s your case, you probably feel you have low skills to meet a high challenge, a scary scenario sure to produce anxiety. I can’t blame your elephant for wanting to run away!

When your “Like-O-Meter” – the only real decision-making factor in an elephant’s world according to Haidt – indicates “-142,” your creativity is at work finding excuses, rather than solutions. What’s worse, while your excuses initially served to rationalize your gut reaction, they eventually become part of how your rider thinks! That’s when you get locked thinking that exercise isn’t for you.

For Each Excuse, a Solution
Having trained people for close to a decade, I’d like to offer ways to reprogram this dead-end thinking. In Changing for Good, Prochaska and colleagues explain that people who are not yet seriously contemplating change often hide behind excuses.  Helping them raise awareness of their mental tricks can better equip them to face the music and train the elephant.

I have paired the most common excuses people use to avoid physical activity with a possible solution to alleviate each.  Please locate your favorite excuse from the list below and see if my suggestion works to bust the excuse.  (Note: Prochaska also notes that people usually don’t go from precontemplation to total readiness overnight, so bear in mind that I don’t expect you to undertake a half-marathon training in the next two days!)

1 – “I wasn’t made for exercise.”
In her influential book Mindset, Carol Dweck explains that there is no such thing as an athletic gene. Sure, some may be genetically more flexible or stronger than others, but what really differentiates you from these athletes you waste energy looking at every time you workout is how many hours they spent at it.

Train your elephant: Start by changing your mindset. It’s all about dedication, not predisposition. If predisposition there is, it would be that human bodies were made to exercise – including yours! Up until about 100 years ago, people used to walk almost everywhere they went. So at the very least, you can start walking everyday – or you’ll need to find another excuse!

2 – “I don’t have time.”
No TimeHere’s the Queen of all excuses! No time, did you say? And exactly how many hours of TV did you watch in total last week? Are there no TVs and elliptical machines at your gym? Oh! I get it! You have to stay home with the kids. Don’t they jump rope or play street hockey every once in a while? In many cases, the “no time” excuse usually means that exercise just isn’t high on a priority list.

Train your elephant: Let’s try some reframing. Truth is, the human brain needs down time. You can’t be efficient unless you rest every now and then. As much as you’d like to say you work 112 hours per week, you know better. Now maybe exercise doesn’t fit your definition of down time. However, since we know fitness increases attention, it really is quite a productive hobby for busy people. If you end your workouts with some breathing and stretching, you also get to relax in the process.

More importantly, various studies have shown that exercise increases longevity. So there you go. More time!

3 – “Exercise is real torture!”
Yes, if you want to build your capacity, you will have to reach past your comfort zone, and the initial discomfort will be immediate. We tend to tense inactive muscles when trying a new exercise, which increases soreness afterward.

Train your elephant: If you are aching for three days following each workout, you push too hard. Use mindfulness. Pay attention to what your body says. It doesn’t matter if other people are stronger, leaner, and more agile: one day they were in your shoes, just learning the moves.

Bored at the Gym4 -“The gym is SO boring!
Here we have the opposite situation. If you are bored, it’s because you are just plugging in time. Those who learn and get involved with their sport aren’t bored. To the contrary, they get increasingly stimulated mentally. The same theory applies to lifting.

Train your elephant: Start by learning more about muscle groups, exercise combinations, periodization, cardiac output and the like.  You’ll get mentally engaged. Csikszentmihalyi said it best: “When we choose a goal and invest ourselves in it to the limits of our concentration, whatever we do will be enjoyable. And once we have tasted this joy, we will redouble our efforts to taste it again.”

5 – “I’m not a discipline person. I already self-regulate all day at work. When I’m on my own time, I want to enjoy myself.”
This excuse means that exercise can’t be enjoyable for you – or that you’ve given up trying to make it fun.

Train your elephant:
Challenge your belief with some appreciative inquiry techniques: when have you enjoyed physical activity?  Identify the root of your pleasure and build from there. Oh? You’re saying exercise has never been fun? Then let’s go back to Einstein: doing the same thing over and over will perpetuate the same results. Try something else. If you’ve always been involved with solo activities, join a team sport. If you’re not enjoying high-intensity, go for Tai-Chi. Your joints are the problem? Try a water aerobics class. Ever tried martial arts? Maybe hiking? Ballroom dancing? Tennis? Soccer? Surely, with some goodwill, you will find something that you can like.

6 -“It takes way too long before I get any results!”
You are plagued with the Big Gain Syndrome and/or you can’t delay gratification. We want it all, and we want it now, and shows like the Biggest Loser hardly help us take it slow, which creates frustration.

Train your elephant: Move your attention towards micro-process-goals. Rather than wait until you have lost those undesired 10 pounds to feel proud and celebrate, give yourself kudos for each section of your workout. If today your plan is to bike 30 minutes and that seems like a lot of pain, start by thinking of your warm-up time – about 5 minutes. Once you are through with it, focus only on the next 5-minute increment, surely you can handle that much. A good song is playing on the radio? Use it to increase your pace. When the rhythm is gone, take it slower for a bit, and use the opportunity to build in an active rest period.

Training with micro-goals will not only help you make it through the workout, but it will naturally create intervals of different intensity. Since interval training is recognized to bring about faster results, micro-goals will also diminish the time needed before you’ve attained your end result goal. This technique has worked wonders for me; I hope it does for you too!

Morning ShowerTuning Your Like-O-Meter
Lastly, remember that your elephant and your body will get conditioned together. At that point, physical activity becomes very self-reinforcing. When I feel stressed out for all the wrong reasons, I know a good jog will get me back on track.  To quote Dave Shearon on this forum a few days ago, my elephant now bounces toward the opportunity to train, rather than away from it.

For me, exercise no longer requires motivation – it has become a habit, just like showering before work in the morning.  And so it can for you also!

Let me know if my excuse-busting techniques have made you think!
 


 

References:

Rights to all images were purchased by the author for the sole use of this article.

Brooks, D.S. (2004). The Complete Book of Personal Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2004). Fostering healthy self-regulation from within and without: A self-determination theory perspective. In Linley, P. A. & Joseph, S. (Eds.), Positive Psychology in Practice (pp. 105-124). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Dweck, C. (2007). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Ballantine Books.

Haidt, J. (2006). The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. New York: Basic Books.

Csiksentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience.. New York: Harper Perennial.

Loehr, J. & Schwartz, T. (2003). The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal. Free Press: New York.

Prochaska, J.O., Norcross, J.C. & Diclemente, C.C. (1994). Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward. New York: HarperCollins.

Rejeski, J.W. & Kenney, E.A. (1988). Fitness Motivation: Preventing Participant Dropout. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Roizen, M. F. & Hafen, T. (2006). The RealAge(R) Workout: Maximum Health, Minimum Work. New York: Harper Collins.

20 Comments »

  • Iris Marie Bloom says:

    Good job, MJ! I especially like your insight that for some people, being told from so many sources that they “should” exercise can actually take away intrinsic motivation. I have found that encouraging people to notice pleasure in body, mind, and breath… if not during exercise, then after… can really boost the process of exercise becoming a habit. Also, I compiled a pile of research on the cognitive benefits of exercise for a client, so let me know if you want at it. Loved your inclusion of the elephant!

  • WJ says:

    Iris, I’m with you. I teach people to savour the feeling post exercise. It lasts for hours – that way they can make the exercise experience last much longer than just the workout. In other words enjoy the ride on the elephant for a while.

  • WJ says:

    Marie-Josee, There is also the issue of making sure people have scientifically based expecations

    For example there is no evidence that exercise is important for weight loss – its only important for maintenance. See http://www.innate-intelligence.com.au/blog/?p=380

  • Lindley says:

    Hmm…I can’t go without a shower. It’s an odd idea to think about exercise being like that for me, but a GOOD kind of odd.

    I definitely agree with the part about intrinsic motivation and what Iris said…I think that has a lot to do with my lack of exercise. I’m the kind of person who always wants to do the opposite of what people tell me I should do. I also found I could identify with #6 about immediate results. I tend to lose interest in things that don’t show results quickly, and exercise is one of those things where you have to wait it out a bit to reap the complete benefits. Any suggestions for getting past this mindset?

  • george vaillant says:

    Dear MJ
    Your blog was the closest anyone has ever come to getting me away from my desk and into a gym,I’m still holding out but your pursuasive techniques are formidable
    Thanks
    George

  • Jeff says:

    MJ,
    Could you do a piece about setting realistic exercise goals? I think that’s the single biggest obstacle I face and, as I am the gauge of all things normal, others will too.

    You enticed me by describing the Big Gain problem. I think that can play a very large role in why people quit exercise. Also the Minimal Visible Gain model might form a counterpoint to the Big Gain problem. If you don’t see the changes and you don’t enjoy the journey, how will you continue pressing on?

    Also, I think your piece empowers us to self-motivate but perhaps we are not all to blame for our shortcomings? It is easy to dismiss misgivings about exercise as “it is all your fault, get off your butt and run that marathon”. For those who have been insulted for their inactivity and their body size, I think speaking to that end and showing awareness of that reality could make your message even more persuasive.

    To restate: yes we have the choice and power to change. Not all of us know how much is enough and at what point it becomes overboard. In fact, what is the prescription for various endpoints? Health, longevity, etc. Exercise is after all a science.

  • Senia Maymin says:

    Marie-Jo,
    I am liking so many of the comments here, and you made the elephant analogy so clear and compelling.

    I’m loving this discussion – George has almost gone to the gym, Lindley thinks it’s a good kind of odd; I totally agree with Iris and Wayne about the exercise savoring experience and intrinsic motivation, and I love that Jeff is asking for short-term concrete goals.

    My favorite part of the article was the reference to Mindset and Dweck, and how there’s no use thinking that we’re either athletes or we’re not.

    Hug!
    S.

  • Thank you all for such encouraging comments! I am very happy to read that you found my article resonated positively with you!

    Iris – thanks for the offer! I would of course love to take a peak at your research!

    Iris and Wayne – most people tend to skip the cooldown at the end of their workouts, and so they don`t get to fuly enjoy the post-exercise glow. I agree with you both that if we could use the peak-end rule more effectively, more people would be enthusiastic about exercise.

    Lindley and Jeff – your questions are related to each other, and I do have suggestions to offer. Stay tuned in the next few months, I will come up with an article for you guys!

    George – I`m so glad with your comment! Thank you for mentioning that I made you think about going to the gym! I live for that! Maybe my article for Lindley and Jeff will bring that final idea that will make you try? I`ll give it my best shot!

    Senia – I used to think I was not an athelete back when I was a teenager. I remember thinking I was very flexible, but had no cardio. Then one day I realized I had never worked at it seriously, and decided to try. Things changed. I became better at it. Then more recently, when I read Carol Dweck`s book, I realized I still don`t see myself as an athlete, so I started to think that I am as much of an athlete as I think I am. My performance on my workouts have immediately increased since I`ve had that thought. Really powerful stuff, the mindset theory!

    Don`t hesitate to send me more thoughts if you have them! I am out of the country at the moment, so my responses may not be as frequent as usual, but I`ll be reading them – and preparing for a follow-up article.

    Thanks again,

    MarieJ

  • Wayne – I skimmed the article you pointed us to on weight loss versus exercise. You bring up an important point and it deserves attention.

    So here`s my take on this:
    – Lots of diets tell us that the have The Key to weight loss. There is only one key to weight loss: spend more calories than you consume. More precisely, spend 3500 calories above what you eat to lose one pound. It`s a mathematical formula; not a magical formula.
    – The article you referenced is right. Most people tend to overcompensate for the calories used up through exercise, that`s why they don`t lose weight. If they kept their diet unchanged however, they would lose weight. Problem is, after exercise it is normal to feel hungry AND people think they can indulge since they just made an effort. That`s the catch.
    – If there is anything that works somewhat magically – meaning without us realizing it`s happening – it is this: one pound of body fat uses up about 1 to 3 calories per day. One pound of muscle uses up about 150 to 160 calories per day. So as people build their muscle mass, they use more calories per day even in their sleep! So contrary to popular belief, the best thing to do in terms of exercise is not cardio; it is weight lifting.

    Thank you for giving me an opportunity to clarify this information. The weight loss industry makes hundreds of millions each year, and most of it is unfortunately not money well spent. In the current economy, it`s important to know.

    Warmly,

    MarieJ

  • Dan B says:

    Marie-Josee

    As usual, well-written, fun, informative, and insightful. Your columns are great! Keep them coming, and thanks.

    Dan B

  • Jeff says:

    I think the muscle building versus cardiovascular debate fascinates me. Of course there’s no reason you have to do one versus the other, but then again time-energy-motivation is a limited renewable resource. Alternating days might work for many. For some, cardio workouts are a good fit for others strength/bodybuilding/mass workouts are a good fit.

    Personally I think that muscle building is *probably* a better value for effort expended, because it does seemingly increase your daily expenditure of calories. I have reviewed caloric expenditure charts by Brian Sharkey, author of a text called Fitness and Health. They adjust their caloric expenditure charts +/- 10 percent for every 10 pounds over and under 150 pounds, the base rate sample.
    Muscle building burns a small to moderate amount of calories while completing the activity, then probably burns some through repair and increasing muscle fiber size. Then you are heavier/denser so your daily movements are more expensive. Does that indicate that a fast run will burn fewer calories than muscle mass workouts? Probably not, but all else equal if you miss a string of muscle workouts, you still have muscle. After 8-12 weeks of detraining with cardio, you are close to square one. You can’t run at the same intensity. Also if you miss cardio workouts, you are not burning anything those days. Plus cardio makes you lighter in bodyweight…burning less than a musclebound runner at the same pace.

    Put differently, imagine wearing an 80 pound backpack through your daily life. Would that require more, less, or the same amount of effort to overcome inertia? It takes more fuel to move a semi than a compact car the same distance. Of course there are upper thresholds for how much muscle mass you can add.

    This explains why people who are extremely heavy can lose those first pounds fairly quickly with some effort but as they approach their target weights, they have a hard time. Their bodies in fact expend less calories in activities of daily life.

    Some say that cardio workouts are healthier than mass building workouts. I doubt that is true. Any activity that moves you from sedentary to active decreases risk factors. So too do workouts that reduce your body composition. If strength training can do both, then it is healthy. Besides, please show me a precise definition of fitness that does not include being able to complete activities of daily living. Strength can only help those activities.

    I have absolutely zero training in exercise science. I do read, however, and the above explanation seems to fit my experiences and what I’ve read about exercise science.

  • Dan – thanks for this warm comment! Very glad to read it!

    Jeff – you bring up very important points and you are very well informed! Ideally we need to do both cardio and muscle mass training (which is, for the record, very different than body building – no need to go to such extremes to get benefits!). Cardio capacity starts declining as early as 2 weeks without stimulation, so it’s important to keep it alive! Muscle mass can be preserved a bit longer without maintenance.

    One will start achieving interesting results in as little as 35 minutes, 5 times per week, which I normally recommend to be 2 days of lifting and 3 days of cardio including 5 minute stretching at the end of each session. So you see, there is more cardio than muscle mass building in this beginning program.

    Good job on explaining why people lose more weight at the beginning than at the end, BTW. There is also the fact that decreasing from 3000 to 2500 calories per day is usually a bit easier than going from 2500 to 2000, for example. So someone who is eating 1000 calories per day over their needs will usually not cut the full amount right away. It’s usually done in stages, and incremental stages are not all equally easy. But then again it varies from person to person.

    Now on the question of healthier, I think we really do need both. Cardio is – by definition – necessary for the heart’s health. Lifting helps build and maintain bone density and, obviously, strength. So when we want to talk about healthier, both are obviously really important. But to take a stab at the question, I would ask healthier for whom? A 55 year-old woman who is a vegan and suffers from oestheoporosis would probably be better served by weight lifting first. It would help preserve her bones and since she’s a vegan, she probably has an OK cholosterol level. On the other hand, a 40 year-old obese man probably needs to get the cardio working first. His bones are probably in better shape than his heart is (unless he has been morbidly obese for a number of years, in which case his joints are probably not strong enough to take much cardio right out of the gates). That being said, I wouldn’t put him on the treadmill for a 30 minute jog right away! Walking would be enough of a cardio stimulation to get him going!

    Hope that answers a lot of the questions that our exercise contemplators might have! More to come in future columns!

    Warmly,

    MarieJ

  • Jeremy McCarthy says:

    Hi Marie-Josee,

    I hope you are publishing this article in more places (like maybe the bulletin board at wherever George Vaillant hangs out when he’s not at the gym). It was so well written and even the “appendix” of your answers to questions in these comments is incredibly thorough and valuable.

    I think another excuse people use is that exercise is superficial and only beneficial for improving outward appearances and some people would rather spend their time pursuing more academic/intellectual pursuits. (i.e. exercising their brain rather than their body–perhaps George V. fits into this category since he seems to be quite well developed in this area!) The research presented in “Spark” by Ratey shows the astounding effects of exercise on the brain and this information can be very motivating to a population of bookworms that have previously been unmotivated by the other benefits that exercise has to offer.

  • Hi Marie,

    Wonderful article 🙂

    3 Additional Points that may help:

    1) Make it a life commitment

    I had several Chinese professors that practiced Tai Chi for well over 20 years — and it shows. My gym partner’s been training over 25 years — those I want to be like have health as a life commitment — not a specific “10lb weight loss goal then I’m done exercising.” If people get over the short term, and make long-term goals they WILL reach their goals — and it’s a lot less painful.

    2) Do something you can always progress on & enjoy.

    I hate maintenance… after my first 2 years of weight training I got down to 5% bodyfat. Then what? Maintain and feel miserable due to calorie deprivation but hope the external support will fuel me on? I’m now into powerlifting because I can get stronger for the rest of my life. Someday when I can squat 4x bodyweight — which probably take a good 10 years or more, then I can do strongman competitions, olympic lifting (though better to do young), etc. Some people may be content with maintenance, losing 10lbs, etc… but most don’t want to spend 4 hours a week in the gym to maintain a 10lb fat loss from their set-point for the next 40 years — the benefit / time ratio is just too poor. Do something you can continually improve on and the rest follows — you have to improve technique to improve more, have to keep training to keep improving, and enjoy your gains the whole way.

    3) Train for performance => fat loss

    If you train to be faster / stronger / better at what you’re doing, it will be easier to lose fat. If I’m doing bicep curls, I’m engaging far fewer muscles than doing snatches — which puts on muscle faster? — snatches! Unless you’re already a professional bodybuilder, complex movements trump “isolation” exercise anyday, and if you improve the big lifts, your work capacity increases. Greater work capacity = greater calorie expenditure… so improve performance first — if you still eat cakes 5x per week, the fat loss may be minimal, but when you decide to clean-up the diet, it will be much easier when your stronger self is fighting for something than a weaker self.

  • Charles Martin-Krumm says:

    Salut Marie-jo! After having read your contribution, I feel like I don’t have any excuses until now! Nevertheless, I am self-determinated to practice exercises. But sometimes, I admit that I would rather do something else than jogging or practising sports. So, thank you very much for your tricks!!!
    Amitiés,
    Charles

  • Leanrainmakingmachine says:

    Nicholas:
    I’m with you, except I no longer aspire to squat 4X my bodyweight at age 57… Given my current weight, those around me are shocked –truly shocked–to see me squat 2x BW… but, yes, I aspire to be stronger, more powerful, better balanced and more flexible each year…and I haven’t dome regular curls, tricep pushbacks, etc. for years —
    “Go heavy or go home…” Deads, squats, pull ups, dips, incline presses, hypers, face pulls and BW exercise; rdls, etc…

  • Leanrainmakingmachine says:

    Oh, BTW everyone, you need not choose between strength training and cardio. You can do both simultaneously by doing super circuits of strength training that achieve cardio and strength effects at the same time and dramaticallly reduce the time spent exercising.
    Also, you can use Kettleballs to achieve the same effects. The basic idea is to move from exercise to exercise without resting between sets. Just ensure that the exercise order does not exercise the same muscles. So, e.g., do a lower body exercise like a squat, followed by an upper body push –like a chest press; followed by a lower body posterior exercise (e.g., deadlift) followed by an upper body pull (e.g., row); followed by a shoulder press, etc… Then repeat 3 times..

  • Jeremy – Thanks for the idea! I had not thought of posting the article in other places, but will look into it. And yes, Spark is a great book!

    Charles – glad you now have a few less excuses! Don’t hesitate to share your favorite excuse-busting technique with others!

    Nick – I couldn’t agree with you more on the life commitment part. It’s great to read your enthusiasm. Not everyone will want to make it to power lifting nor 5% body fat however (nor should they!), and I’m sure some might even be intimidated just reading about your accomplishments!

    I like the alternative of working on ever-better technique: quite mind-engaging, but not as overwhelming. Impeccable technique also greatly diminishes the risk of injuries, so it’s an added benefit. Plus the elegance of it can translate into other life contexts, another bonus. Another alternative would be to discover new disciplines, and add them into the mix, such as yoga or martial arts.

    LRM – I was wondering if you’d join the conversation! Glad you’re here! 🙂 Great addition on circuit training also! Thank you for that contribution.

    Best to all,

    MarieJ

  • Elaine O'Brien says:

    Dear MarieJ,

    Thanks for a wonderful and important article and for stimulating a compelling, interesting discussion. Your point about form and safety is key and I enjoyed your solutions and excellent references. I got to visit Nick Ritchie and his lovely wife, Eunju, last month in London. Nick is motivated, pumped, looking strong. Good luck and best wishes in your training. I think that having an inspiring training buddy, like Nick, is a reciprocal blessing, and it can keep you on track, authentic, and accountable.

    I agree with Leanrainmakingmachine about the benefits of cardiovascular/aerobic and strength/resistance training. I’d add to that the importance of practicing flexibility training for injury prevention, relaxation, and lifetime range of motion.

    There are many physical activities to enjoy and it is possible to fit fitness into your (busy) life. Sometimes it’s helpful to think about what activities you enjoyed as a child, for inspiration. Walking briskly is one of the best lifetime activities and I’m glad that Marty Seligman, by way of Ray Fowler’s inspiration, is on the 10,000 steps a day Love Train.

    Shallow or deep water vertical workouts, like water running, offer potential mid-high intensity results with a non-impact expenditure, rehabbing sports injuries and providing balance of major muscle groups. I t’s possible to program an effective and refreshing bout in the pool. Aqua powered physical training lets you considering laws of action-reaction and acceleration, and the principles leverage, viscosity, and buoyancy, to create a program to meet and challenge your fitness needs. I believe in the power of keeping it fresh, fun and challenging. Outdoor active recreational activities, like hiking, can boost positive emotions and appreciation of nature and beauty

    I personally enjoy the Social Fitness aspect of exercise. I’m lucky to teach group training. If it’s enjoyable and fun, you’ll keep doing it. Music can help you get moving and keep moving well. Group training has helped me
    complete races including the Dublin Marathon, and the Brollopett Half-Marathon from Denmark to Sweden, something more out of my comfort zone. I know that feeling of communitas, moving positively together in unison, sustains and nourishes me.

    Gavin’s 2005 research on Exercise and Personality offers clues about how to find activities you’ll enjoy.

    Finally, thanks MarieJ for mentioning Peak-End. I agree that it’s important to cool down, breathe and savor positive feelings luxuriating in a job well done. Merci, MarieJ and PPND!

    Best to all,
    Elaine O’Brien,
    PS George Vaillant rocks and I love that he is a great “mover and shaker.”

  • Jim Bohannon says:

    Now that’s an important point I’ve never heard made quite like that before. Well done! Perhaps a little more detail for noobies?

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.