The Pleasure Principle © 2013

 

Fall is upon us and we’re scrambling to get those last outdoor activities in. So I thought I would talk about one of the most important aspects of any fitness program, pleasure.
If you like it, you’ll do it. If you don’t, you won’t.

The popular trend right now in the fitness industry is boot camp style workouts that basically whip you into shape.
This type of exercise may be some people’s idea of fun, but for many of us who have had trouble getting or staying on an exercise program it’s just not sustainable.
Exercise should be a pleasure not a chore.
That thought played over and over in my head as I watched two distinct sets of bicyclists on their daily rides.
Near where I live there is a road that has two bike paths on it. There is one for serious touring bikers and one for slower traffic.

The serious group is just that, SERIOUS! – Featherweight bikes with drop handle bars, tiny seats and pedals that require clip-on shoes. They wear flaming color form fitting hi-tech clothes that slip the air, wick the sweat and have hidden pockets for keys and snacks.
They stream along at high speed, and with their bodies bent over for aerodynamic position, helmeted heads lurched forward, they look like a flock of supersonic tropical birds. There is a grimace on every face, but this is the type of exercise they enjoy.
They’re working hard and wouldn’t have it any other way. Young or old, these athletes are in top condition.
However, just a few feet away, an endless parade of more leisurely exercisers ambles along, peddling merrily, sitting up right, zinging their bells, smiling and chatting. They wouldn’t have it any other way either. Are the amblers as fit as the racers? – Probably not. But is their daily moderate exercise enough to reap most of the health benefits exercise has to offer? – Probably so.
Research clearly shows that you don’t have to be an athlete to be fit enough to be healthy and live longer.
Then there’s burnout. If you don’t enjoy it you’ll quit.  So many of us try to do too much and end up doing nothing.  Pleasure is the key to success.
Find a physical activity you like or at least don’t hate and pursue it with pleasure. Stay in your comfort zone and if you do, exercise will become something you look forward to instead of dread.
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