Sometimes, you just have to do it
As the advertising saying goes, sometimes you have to just do it.
Last month I pushed aside my well-honed excuses, blocked out the negative vibes and made that great leap off the couch and began jogging.
Actually, rather than a huge leap, I took a modest step up and increased the morning walk with my dog Oliver to a morning run at least five days a week.
There’s a difference in just “doing it” and maintaining a consistent exercise program. Perseverance to stick to a weekly workout schedule represents a constant battle of wills – mine vs. the ever-present urge to sleep an extra half hour and go jogging “tomorrow.”
Staying power is the name of the game. One has to start in small increments and build upon that step by step. From what I read, and from personal experience, that simple advice is the key to exercise, dieting or the next work project.
That very first step, whether it’s heading out the door to run or saying no to a Whopper with cheese and opting for a salad with low-fat dressing, can be the most daunting hurdle for any one of us. That’s the just do it part.
My recommendation if you want to start exercising more? Begin with a walk around your neighborhood. Make that part of your daily or every other day routine. Walk before you run will help you get over that hump.
About five years ago when I gave Julie a puppy for Christmas, I found myself the designated morning walker for our Labrador. One of the best things that ever happened to me. Although I play sports such as tennis and basketball, my morning constitutional with Oliver is the one constant while my trips to the gym or tennis court are more difficult to schedule.
And, as other experts will tell you, convenience is another key to exercise. I can roll out of bed, pull on some scruffy clothes and a coat and stumble out the door nearly everyday to get in a 20- to 30-minute walk. Driving 10 miles out of the way in the evening after work to an athletic club can become a losing battle over time. Make it easy at the start and give yourself a fighting chance.
Even though I had a long-established walking routine in place, going for that first jog was not a piece of cake. Fortunately, Oliver is one big bundle of goofy, slobbering energy that begs me every morning to get out of bed and play. Running at 6:30 a.m.? The boy is in heaven.
Granted, now that we’re running, he hates it that he doesn’t get to stop at every bush and mound of dirt to sniff and leave a calling card for the next pooch. However, he gets in enough dog nosing around to keep him happy and me time to catch my breath.
And no matter what I may think, Oliver controls the pace of our morning run by slowing down if the slope becomes too steep or quickening up when he spots a neighborhood dog roaming about. For those 25 or 30 minutes each morning, Oliver’s in charge and he knows it.
It makes up for all the other times when I tease him while throwing his stick, or trick Oliver into thinking there’s an intruder at the back door.
Nearly a month into my new routine, I’ve found the increased exercise invigorating (early mornings are wonderful in the Valley) and enjoyed the satisfaction that comes with clearing a hurdle. It always feels good when you can beat back the demons who say “Stay in bed” or “Go ahead and make that a Double Whopper.”
A slobbering, hyperactive and willing running partner helps, too.
– Peter Kostes is publisher of The Record-Courier.