Connecting With Your Body

Since so many of you liked last month’s blog post (Connect In Before You Connect Out) about the importance of authenticity when connecting, I thought I would go a little deeper on the concept of connecting inward before you connect outward.   There really is truth in the age-old wisdom of treating your body as the sacred temple.  The more you care for it, the better it can serve you.

I have always hated exercising.  I never understood people who would tell me they can’t go a day without it or those who organize their day around their trainer, exercise class or gym schedule.  Sure, over the years as my waistline grew and I couldn’t fit into my clothes any longer, I succumbed to hiring a personal trainer and plucked down cash to join a gym in hopes that somehow in the process I would become “addicted” like many of my friends.  I kept waiting for the day that I would wake up and look forward to going and overcome the urge to hire a hit man to take out my personal trainer.  That day never came.  I never lasted longer than a month and I dreaded every minute of it.

As I faced my 49th year of being among the living, I was given the book, Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy – Until You’re 80 and Beyond (Workman Publishing 2007). It’s co-authored by a physician and his 60 year-old male patient who together also wrote the male version, Younger Next Year for Men.

This book really got my attention and provides a pretty compelling case for why I needed to start moving to stop the slow decay going on in my body.  The tide was moving out and it was up to me to decide how fast it would progress.  I highly recommend this book as it presents a compelling medical argument for why exercise is critical for assuring a longer and healthier life.

I began to visualize me exercising regularly and what it would feel like if it were a regular part of my life.  Many of my friends laughed at me for not just jumping in and starting but it was really important for me to get myself prepared and open for this big change in my life.  I didn’t want to jump in and then jump out which is what I had always done.  Remember the definition of insanity is doing what you’ve always done but somehow expecting different results.  I wanted different results this time.

As I celebrate my one month anniversary of my new found like (notice I didn’t say love) of exercise, I wanted to share some of my lessons learned in the hopes that I might inspire you or someone you love to start moving;

  1. Never do it alone. For me the secret to my success has been my girlfriend Karla.  She is my accountability workout partner and she shows up everyday in my driveway to go with me.  There are MANY days I don’t want to go but I don’t want to let Karla down. We have both gotten in better shape and lost inches but the friendship that has grown because of our 4-5 hours together each week is the real payoff.
  2. Discover what works for you. Different strokes for different folks has never been truer than when it comes to the many ways you can exercise.  For me, anything that disguises the fact that I’m actually sweating works which is why I’m sticking with a fitness boot camp class that has an eclectic mix of women who are just interested in getting in better shape and not out to impress anyone.  It also helps that our instructor is equal part drill sergeant and nice guy that is the right combination for me.  Figure out what will work for you and experiment with several things (you can try out any class or gym for free for 1 week so try before you buy).
  3. Commit to two weeks. For me, the first two weeks suck.  I was sore and every muscle in my body hurt and I wanted to kill my instructor every time he said, “After two weeks you won’t hurt anymore.”  He was right.
  4. Stretch. This is critical.  Never attempt any kind of physical exercise without making sure you stretch your muscles and your mind before and after.  How you prepare your body to initiate physical exercise and how you leave it after, are the most critical.   The more I stretch my muscles and my mind the more I have come to appreciate and enjoy the benefits of exercise.  I bought two yoga mats with 20 different poses on it so I can do it with my daughter at home.  I’m serious about never doing it alone.
  5. Visualize a healthier you. What you focus on is what you get.  Start imagining how you would feel, act and behave if you were healthier and in better shape.  I have begun to eat better just by simply thinking healthy for a change.

I have recently discovered more energy for connecting with others now that I’m paying more attention to my body and treating it with more respect.   Some of you that know me well are probably in shock at reading this blog post.  I’m sure you never thought the day would come that I would promote the “E” word.  Well, I’m big on accountability because I don’t have a lot of self-motivation.  I really believe in the “it takes a village” concept so let’s support each other and together let’s slow the tide and delay the decay.

See you at kick “butt” fitness camp!