Thursday, July 8, 2010

Reason To vs. Excuses Not To

In life, people have contrasting attitudes: those who find reasons to do things and make changes, and those who find excuses why they cannot. These behaviors apply to many aspects: willingness to try new things, tackle one's fears, travel to new places, change habits that can be detrimental, even take care of one's health (you knew I'd get around to that one).

As we age, our fitness declines unless we do something about it. So you can either sit around listing excuses why you can’t get off your butt or you can do something.

“I can’t do that,” “My shoulder/knee/back hurts, “ “I don’t like to workout,” “I don’t have time,” “I’m too weak,” “I’ve got better things to do,” “That makes my heart beat fast,” “I don’t like to sweat,” “I’ve got arthritis/high blood pressure/ insert condition here.’’

“My reunion/son’s Bar Mitzvah/best friend’s wedding is coming up,” “Doc said do something quick,” “Tired of gaining weight each year,” “Run a 5K,” “Garden without hurting my back,” “Keep up with my grandkids,” “Fit in my skinny jeans again,” “I’ve got arthritis/high cholesterol/insert condition here.”

Every one of us makes excuses. I’m no exception. I once believed I couldn’t ride a bike because I had bad balance or run because my knee would hurt. I thought I wasn’t athletic because I couldn’t throw or catch a ball. But time and age can put things in perspective.

In order to save my sanity while working at my first job in NYC, I discovered swimming at the Y around the corner (much cheaper than psychotherapy). Years later, I got postcards encouraging fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in exchange for training to complete a triathlon or ride a bike century. To celebrate my mother-in-law’s 5 years cancer-free from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I raced in her honor. Suddenly I had REASONS TO rather than EXCUSES NOT TO.

To this day, my reasons to train to improve my strength, flexibility, balance and aerobic endurance are so I can ride my bike and swim in the lake. Not, as some people believe, because I “love working out.”

Everyone’s got good reasons. What are yours? Please share them.