If there is one thing that we are all experts at when it comes to exercising, it is making excuses. Which of the following have you used to avoid exercising?
- I don’t have the time.
- The day got away from me.
- I have relatives/friends visiting.
- I don’t feel well today (didn’t yesterday, and definitely won’t feel well tomorrow, either).
- I had to work overtime and am exhausted.
- I haven’t seen any movement on my scales, so what good is it to exercise?
- I live too far from the gym and, besides, it is such a hassle.
- My neighborhood isn’t conducive to walking.
- My workout clothes look like rags.
- I am too fat and don’t want anyone to see me like this at the gym.
- I am starting a new exercise program next week (which comes and goes…and comes and goes).
- It is too late, and I am still full from dinner.
- Mornings don’t suit me (so you can’t exercise in the afternoon?).
- My knee hurts.
- I am not fat, so I don’t need to exercise; besides, I sweat and it messes up my make-up and hair.
- At my age, why bother? (Continues below the ad)
That’s enough for now–you get the drift. Exercise is not the activity if you need to lose weight, although it can help you maintain your goal weight. Exercise does even more–it helps you get rid of fat and increase your muscle mass which, in turn, burns more calories, getting rid of the fat. That’s the simple explanation, which is why men lose weight faster–they have more muscle mass than women do. Exercise is what you need to ward off strokes, heart attacks, and hardening of the arteries. It helps keep you flexible, supple, and active well into your senior years (as in your 90s and beyond). And it boosts your energy levels. There is enough on the Internet that expounds on the benefits of exercise, and the Mayo Clinic has put together a great concise list here.
Back in the 1950s, this exerciser remembers working out (I don’t think that was the term used back then) with her mother and Jack LaLanne on the TV. Jack, who died at age 96 on January 23, 2011, was exercising up to two hours a day into his 90s. While many people do not like exercise, they still do it (including Oprah and yours truly). When you get into an exercise routine, and then you have to miss a day, you feel ‘bad’–your body just isn’t functioning to its max capabilities. There are times when the day has gotten away from me, and I ended up on the treadmill close to midnight. But I got the exercise in!
Back to the list of excuses. At a recent Zumba dance exercise class at the Albuquerque Presbyterian Healthplex, there was the instructor, Molly (what a great instructor, too, she is), 12 men and women, and Alan, an exerciser in a wheelchair. Ronni, Alan’s wife was one of the other 12 exercisers. They are a happy couple, and Alan was having a ball. If Alan, who is in a wheelchair can get out and exercise, then you, my friend, have absolutely NO excuse whatsoever. None of us does. (Reread that last sentence!)
Alan is not the only one in a wheelchair who exercises at the Healthplex. There are others, including people on walkers or carrying oxygen tanks. The gym users are young to very old. There are women with their mothers, men with their fathers, and couples (some holding hands as they walk around the track). There is an extra benefit to exercising at the gym–not only are you doing something nice for your body, but you get to socialize with like-minded people. I used to chat with the famous author, Tony Hillerman, as we walked around the track. There was also the lady I saw on our local PBS TV all the time during the fundraising season. You just never know who you will run into.
But there is one thing for sure, you are in the company of people who like to walk the talk–live healthy by doing! And you are among people who don’t care one iota as to what you are wearing or weighing. What you won’t hear, though, is anyone’s whining about why they can’t exercise. And that is a good thing.