Quit Exercising To Lose Weight!

Tired of exercising to lose weight? Bored with your routine? Not motivated to move and stay moving?

Exercise Should Be Fun!

We all know that exercise can help us reach long-term goals like losing 10 pounds, or preventing heart disease, arthritis and osteoporosis. Yet sometimes that is not enough to get us off our duffs and stay active. That is why I titled this article “Quit Exercising To Lose Weight.” Okay, okay, I don’t really mean, quit exercising. Rather, instead of always focusing on exercise, focus on fun. And instead of focusing on some long term goal like losing 25 pounds, which in the beginning may seem difficult to achieve, we could shift our focus inward into the here and now of exercise or sport. Focusing inward can actually become a powerful enough tool to help you climb out of your Lazy Boy and turn the drudgery of ordinary exercise into a fun and satisfying experience. Of course the long-term goal is a good idea to keep in mind. Author of The Courage to Start, John Bingham, talks about his experience as a runner, yet I believe it relates to all styles of exercise:

“For running {exercise} to become a part of your life for the rest of your life then there has to be a way of finding a reward in the activity itself that is both immediate and sustained. Running has got to feel good right now. It must allow you to feel good in the afterglow of the effort. And it’s got to do that on a regular basis… It may do all sorts of things for your heart and lungs but in the end it’s got to be fun.”

One of my acupuncture patients suffers from chronic back pain and depression. She finds immediate reward in her activity: “After about ten minutes on my elliptical trainer, my body goes euphoric. I turn on the music really loud, and I just go.

Both running and training on an elliptical trainer at home can be solitary events which may be boring for some. So instead, join a club. There are hiking, biking, running, walking clubs and more. The social aspect of your activity can be oodles of fun, and members keep each other motivated. You begin to feel a team spirit connection to the exercise. You could also try out local community classes such as yoga, kung fu, tai chi, belly dancing, hula-hoop, cardio sculpting, water aerobics, or join a baseball, softball or basketball league.In NYC some gyms and community centers offer free fitness classes for all levels and ages- including kids! For schedule and locations check out www.nyc.gov/parks or call 311. Outside of NYC, call the Parks and Recreation department in your community.

Some people lack the energy to exercise. To restore and build energy, get acupuncture, take Chinese herbs, and eat a nutritionally and energetically balanced diet. These treatments build and circulate the energy you need for fitness. For acupuncture, herbal and nutritional treatment sessions, call us for an appointment: 646-504-2251.

Working out in small classes or with a trainer can help transform your exercise routine from a mindless experience into a mindful experience. When an instructor notices a mistake you are making or a way to enhance an exercise that you already do well, it opens your eyes, deepens your experience and your connection to your body. That inner connection often reflects outward into other aspects of our lives. The more you work one-on-one with an instructor or trainer, the better, but for those with tight budgets even a few times a month can make a big difference. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your teacher in class.

Other ways of changing our mindless exercise into mindful exercise on our own is to turn off the T.V. Focus on your breathing. How does it feel before after and during the exercise? Does your sense of smell, touch or taste change? How does your body feel before during and after each exercise or your entire routine? Is one side of your body more stable then the other?

An additional way to take the stress out of exercise is stop comparing yourself to others around you, in the class or on the team. Just be the best you can in each moment. It is also helpful to avoid comparing your self to yourself. One day may be harder then the next or one exercise may be easier one day but more challenging the next. Just notice these changes and avoid labeling them as bad or good. This technique is also a good one to apply in other areas of life.

If you are still bored after you have taken the steps I have discussed, try a more challenging sport. Instead of running with members of a club, try training for marathon. Instead of hiking or biking basic trails, try mountain climbing or biking.

Are you sore from your new work-out routine? Get Acupuncture. It Works!

Leave a Reply