The problem is that establishing an exercise routine (as opposed to scattering a bunch of one-offs) takes a commitment that most people aren’t willing to make. That’s why most fitness clubs live off the dues of those who never darken their doors. The percentage of people with gym memberships who never use them is a whopping 67%. That’s two-thirds of the people paying dues who get nothing in return. And I’d be willing to bet that at least half of the other third rarely make an appearance. That’s great for the gyms. For the customer, not so much.
There are a lot of flabby people flopping around who are members of fitness clubs. Wow.
It’s pretty obvious to everyone at this point that regular physical exertion is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. Plopping down on our ever-expanding duffs is no longer an option for anyone interested in quality and length of life. It’s been said that sitting is the new smoking; do it long enough and it’ll kill you. For those of us with chronic and other illnesses, the stakes are much higher. But the barriers are higher still.
The last thing someone with MS wants to do is exert herself. Just laying around can be tiring, why the heck would I want to add to my fatigue by exercising? As much as I hate to quote marketeers, Nike had it right when they said “just do it.” It might be hard, exhausting, and even painful in the short run, but we have to do it.
It’s like being inoculated against disease: In order to be protected from some sicknesses, you have to get them into your system. It’s much the same with exercise. In order to get more energy, you have to wear yourself out. A bunch of times. Eventually, you reach a point where it’s not so bad. Then, after doing it for a while, it actually becomes enjoyable. Before you know it, you’re no longer looking for excuses not to exercise, you’re looking for excuses to do more. Suddenly, you have more energy and endurance.
As I said before, all this, like so much else in life, takes commitment. In a previous post, I referred to an old song called “Step Across the Line.” That song is about commitment to following Christ. The same concept applies to exercise. You have to take a step across the invisible yet nearly insurmountable line of resistance between the point where exercise is a pain in the <insert applicable body part here> and where you accept that fact that it’s as necessary as eating and sleeping and get on with the hard work, knowing you’ll get the benefits in the long haul.
We’re not talking about running marathons here – although, if you can, God bless you – but rather anything that gets you off your keister and gets you moving: walking, running, biking (my personal choice), rowing, weights, swimming, calisthenics, aerobics, spinning, golf, horseback riding, gardening, … The list goes on. There’s got to be something out there you can do and will eventually enjoy.
The more time you spend on your butt, the more time you’ll have to spend on your butt.