The Pain of Inactivity

by Sheila Kalas, personal trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington KYMost of us have experienced the overwhelming desire to stay in bed after the alarm goes off, especially if it’s a Monday morning. But most of us, very quickly, connect the dots and realize that if we don’t get out of bed and get going, there will be serious consequences. Whether it’s work or family obligations, we realize that we don’t have the option of just lying around day after day doing nothing. We get up and accept the responsibility of performing the tasks that are not necessarily pleasant all of the time, but are necessary for our lives to run smoothly. We go to work, take out the trash, brush our teeth, do our laundry, feed ourselves, etc.

However, this “connect the dots” scenario does not seem to work when it comes to dealing with the personal responsibility of exercise. When it comes to exercise, most people rationalize that doing nothing feels better. They do not connect the dots that show that regular inactivity is what leads to a low level of energy, poor health, and growing waistlines. It is much easier to blame life for these unpleasant things instead of blaming the choices you make.

As an exercise professional, one of my most important jobs is to help my clients learn to feel lousy when they don’t exercise. It may sound strange, but they must learn this if there is any hope of them becoming a regular, self-motivated exerciser. They have to connect the dots that it is inactivity that hurts their health and is painful to their body, not exercise.

It is a fact that exercise does cause mild, temporary discomfort. You do notice it when you are exercising; it does feel different than lying on the couch. This feeling is a major deterrent to most people. As motivational speaker Tony Robbins indicates, avoidance of pain is a stronger motivator than the seeking of pleasure. This is why people let the pain and discomfort of exercise rule their choices when it comes to working out. They rationalize that NOT going to the gym makes them feel better at that moment. Yet the very discomfort they want to avoid is going to be multiplied before they know it.

Accepting the personal responsibility that it is you and only you that holds yourself back and keeps you from engaging in a healthy lifestyle is the most important key to unlocking the door to better health. Once you accept this responsibility (which people hate to do), you can begin to move forward.

Helping you get to this place of acceptance is one of the primary roles of a good personal trainer. If you are working with a trainer and you don’t feel like they are helping you accept your role in your exercise program, but instead are just leading you around by the nose, telling you what to do without any explanation of why it is important, then you might be working with the wrong trainer.

You have to do more than “just do it”; you have to understand WHY you are doing it and WHAT is it that is happening inside your body while you are doing it. I firmly believe that the more a person knows and understands about the exercise they are doing, the more likely they are to continue doing it.

An uneducated, uninformed person will soon quit their exercise program. Humans do not engage in things for no reason—there has to be some benefit, some reason to continue. A good trainer should provide you this information.

This a perfect time of the year to sit down and re-evaluate your life, in regards to exercise and health. Take a look at yourself. Is inactivity prevalent in your life? If so, do you realize the consequences of this?

If you are exercising, do you feel good about your program?

Do you think it is giving you what you need to progress through the rest of your life in the healthiest way possible?

Do you feel engaged and connected with your exercise program?

Do you understand your exercise program? Or are you just going through the motions?

Look at yourself, your life, your motivations and rationalizations. Take stock and responsibility in your own life, your own health. Accept the fact that it is you who are in control of how you take care of yourself and your body. Remember that it is inactivity that’s painful, not exercise.

If you feel that you are not where you need to be in regards to an exercise program, then get going! Take the responsibility to get this very important part of your life up and running. Take charge of your health and wellness. It’s a great feeling.

Check out the bios of our Fitness Plus personal trainers and feel free to call us at 859.269.9280.

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