Everyone tells us to exercise. We all know that it is good for us in a myriad number of ways. Yet, instead of exercising, most of us would rather share a meme about how we don’t exercise.

Why is this a problem? Isn’t exercising simple enough? If you want to run, then go out and run. If you want to gym, then go out gymming. Why is this such a hard thing to do?

morning-workout

When you ask this question to someone in a one on one conversation, you get a predictable set of answers.

I’m lazy

I’m just not cut out for it

I can never do something like this I just never get the time

As you dig deeper, you realize that this is a psychological issue. It is further complicated by our ignorance of how habits work!

When someone says, “I am lazy!” they have ensured that they will never exercise in their life. This belief tells the person that “Exercise requires energy and commitment. I am lazy. I do not have energy. I can never exercise.”

lazy and tired person

It becomes impossible for you to even consider the possibility that you could exercise. Answer the following questions:

Can you stand up, right now?

Can you jump thrice?

Can you repeat this every day?

Can you increase your capacity everyday?

The answer to these questions is yes. Some people might disagree about the last question, but we can come to that later.

So, the basic idea is that we can do a minimal exercise right now. The problem is that even if we could, we don’t.The answer to that does not lie in a philosophy but in the architecture of our habits.

double-action-exercise

Exercising would be easy if instead of thinking and deciding about it, we could just make it a habit.

#Habits need triggers and an #action Click To Tweet

What is a trigger? Do you remember clicking on that red notification icon in facebook? That red icon is a trigger that makes you form a habit of checking out notifications. When you keep checking notifications, you reinforce the habit. You keep checking notifications because you like to see likes!

exercise Notifications

In the above example, we have seen a trigger, an action and a reward in place. That is what makes for a habit.Can we use the same thing for an exercising habit?

Let us say that you are an absolute bum. You have never exercised in your life. Let us try and make a habit loop.

You are at your desk. You receive an email. Now you have to reply to it. Let this be your trigger.
Get up and do a bit of stretching. Jump, maybe once. Keep it an easy task!
Reward yourself by saying that you have exercised once more. Keep a tally mark, perhaps.

Such an easy loop, right? That is the least that you can do.

If you have more time, or if you are not hopeless, you can do a better job. Instead of a single exercise, do a regimen. Instead of an email, let a time slot be your trigger. The reward can remain the same.

Another tip: it is easier if you can follow instructions instead of thinking about them. This means that you should look for tried and tested regimens.

Try test exercise

You are your own gym has an application that comes up with routines for you. C25K is another program that promises to take you from the couch to a 5K race. That’s all folks. That’s all there is to exercising, a habit.

There is one more thing left, the code red. This is what you will do when all hell breaks lose. You have an exam, and you cannot exercise.You have a deadline, and you cannot exercise. You have an emergency and you cannot exercise.

What should you do in such a circumstance? It is again simple. Have an emergency protocol ready. Do not focus on getting a full session. Focus on completing a small session. It could be a 30-second session or a 2 minute one, but don’t break this.

emergency-exercise

The reason behind this is an interesting discussion in itself. What I find more interesting is this approach:

If you can’t fly, run.
If you can’t run, jog.
If you can’t jog, walk.
If you can’t walk, crawl.
If you can’t crawl, try to crawl.

That is how I remember the code red of emergencies. This approach is bound to work. The question is, what are you going to do with it. Are you ready to be awesome?

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  • Ram Das
    Reply

    The statement that ‘exercising is so easy than making a decision about it’ is an eye opener for the persons don’t exercise regularly. No one negates the idea of exercising. But, many people don’t exercise not because they are lazy but because they don’t like to undergo even the slightest discomfort while doing the exercise. It is a psychological issue rather than the problem of laziness. Will a new school of thought of ‘exercising psychology’ emerge like the ‘industrial psychology’ emerged in those days! The propagators of exercise may come forward to think about it!

  • Raj Kumar
    Reply

    I agree with what is said here. In fact, it is really easier to do a little bit of exercise instead of thinking over, explaining to yourself or finding some excise for not doing it. Good health is priceless ! When you are sick ot not in good health, you lose a lot of precious time as well as money that could have come if that time was utilized well. Not to mention the Doctor’s and medicines bills, apart from feeling the pain and misery. Even the family members get affected. The inertia and procrastination that prevent u from exercising can be broken at will, by virtue of our will-power and motivation. Once a person takes a small step, and follows it up every day with perseverance, it soon becomes a lifetime journey of good health.

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