It doesn’t matter how fast you go, as long as you don’t stop.
Physical fitness is the cornerstone of the Seven Foundations of Health.
A cornerstone is the first stone in the building of a structure. In the case of your health and happiness, it is the most important stone. Without it, the entire structure crumbles. The way I see it, you can’t be much good to anyone or anything without your health.
I have been exercising regularly for more than forty years. Exercising is as much a part of my daily life as brushing my teeth. Like personal hygiene, I make it a non-negotiable activity. I just do it, whether I “feel like it” or not…I almost always feel better after.
Consistent exercise is a personal productivity booster. It makes me stronger, healthier, and happier. Physical fitness is like fuel. It creates energy for the other foundations of health: mental fitness, spiritual fitness, financial fitness, love, adventure, and significance.
Committing to consistent, lifelong exercise comes naturally for me. Recently, I have been wondering why since so many other people seem to struggle with it. I believe this is because of several techniques and tactics I use daily.
Here is the philosophy I have developed and practiced every day. I hope it will help you succeed in establishing a commitment to lifelong exercise.
1. Do what you enjoy.
To get in shape and maintain fitness, you have to move. That can mean running, hiking, swimming, playing a sport, gardening, rowing, yoga, pilates, etc. Try different activities and identify the ones you like and have fun doing.
2. Do it regularly.
I make an effort to do some form of exercise nearly every day, and plan to keep doing so for the rest of my life.
3. Don’t give it back.
It takes work and dedication to get in shape. Once you reach a certain level of fitness, determine that you will not give it back. I learned long ago that we lose fitness three times faster than we gain it. So if you take a week off, you lose three weeks. It’s not worth it.
4. Do it slowly.
Be careful and take your time getting into shape. Then, and only then, think about staying in shape for life. A common mistake people make is starting too fast and going too hard. Another is expecting immediate results even when it took years to get out of shape. Inevitably they get injured, or they cannot sustain the pace they have set, or they don’t meet the high expectations they created for themselves – and they give up.
So lighten up but don’t give up. Show up and don’t quit. Go easy, go often and keep going every day.
As Lao Tzu proclaimed more than 2,500 years ago, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Begin your journey today, and never look back!
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