I’m going to admit something pretty embarrassing here: I’ve been a slug. For years. I’m a freelance writer by day (and often, by night) and that means a lot of time spent with my butt planted firmly in a chair. As you can imagine, if you maintain a few years of that sort of sedentary lifestyle, you’re destined for an express ticket to flabby central.
That’s not to say I haven’t tried. Because I have. Several times, in fact. I tried Pilates. I tried yoga. I tried running. I tried aerobics videos. And I’d stick to each plan for a few weeks then fall off the wagon. Hard. I’d never commit to a routine long enough for it to become habit.
I’ve always thought it’s because I was too lazy. But upon reflection, I don’t it’s that at all.
None of those fitness plans worked for me because of one simple fact:
A Boring Workout Isn’t Motivating – Period
After years of attempting different workout regimens with no success, I’m convinced the key to an effective exercise plan is motivation. And in order for there to be motivation, there needs to be interest.
So I spent some time thinking. What made me so fit in my pre-freelance writer days? Before I committed to this career, I was a competitive Irish step dancer. I was in excellent shape back then. I’d just finished high school and was in top form. I told myself when I stopped dancing competitively to pick a career path, I’d keep doing the jig for exercise but I never did.
It was time for a change. Now was the time to dust off my dancing shoes.
I cleared some space in my living room – which is currently overrun by a toddler – and cautiously took my first steps. I kept it simple, doing one of the very first dances I ever learned. I was thoroughly winded part way through but I pressed on until the end of the dance. Why? Because it was fun.
That simple fact alone kept me dancing for much longer than I would’ve persisted at any other type of activity in one session.
Mining Your Past for Future Fitness
Obviously, not everyone was an Irish dancer in their youth. But you might have played softball in high school. Or maybe you took karate lessons. Perhaps soccer was your favorite sport in the sixth grade. Maybe you just liked to play Dance, Dance Revolution. The activity you pick doesn’t matter. What does is that you enjoy it. That fact will keep you getting physical far longer than a routine comprised of activities you find boring would.
If fitness routines don’t come naturally to you, it’s time to look to your past interests to discover new ways to get in shape. Now excuse me while I get my butt out of this chair and go do a hornpipe.