What SHAPE is your parachute?

Let’s start by just getting it out on the table, not trying to get too deep. What holds you back from making the commitment to putting foot to treadmill five to six days a week? I know some of you could make this interesting, but I said let’s not get too deep yet. (If you want to psychoanalyze, do it while you’re on the elliptical.) For most of you, there are basic, boring, over-explained reasons that fitness is lacking in your life. It’s the time thing. Energy. Priorities. They’re real reasons, I know. They’re just not flying with me anymore.

I’m pretty sure many of you wish you could hire someone to exercise foryou…and I understand. I do–really. It’s true that I love to exercise and that it’s wormed its way into my priority list over the years. But I’m busy, too, and I know that doing sit-ups while watching the evening news isn’t for everyone.

So what I’m stuck on is how to get those of you who are in the “contemplative” stage into the “action” stage. Those who know they better exercise if they want to be around to play with their grandchildren, but continually promise to start tomorrow, or next week. Or after the next big meeting. Or…. Somehow knowing you should exercise makes you feel a teensy bit like you are exercising in a small way. Am I right? Awareness is the first step toward positive change, after all.

About once a week I look at someone at they gym who is obviously there because he or she has to be–doctor’s orders, weird feeling in the heart area, inspiring episode of “Oprah”–and I think to myself, Thank G-D I don’t have to force myself to find a way to exercise at this stage of the game, I’m so lucky it’s already a part of my life, because it would seriously suck to come here without really wanting to, or worse, to not even have a defined break in the day to come at all.

How do you define that break? Way back before I worked at the gym, when I was just a gym rat, I took classes that I looked forward to all day, like kickboxing or spinning. I worked a 9 to 5 job then, and I was never, not ever, willing to stay past 5–because I had “an appointment.” I figured the people I worked with didn’t need to know why I had to rush off; I did my time, and now I was off to the next thing. I just left. (Of course I would stay up late or wake up early to complete my work if necessary.) When I suggest this idea to people now, I get really funny looks. But that one hour of exercise was actually fun to me, and made me feel amazing, and got me through the evening and work the next day…and DAMNED if I was going to miss it, for what? To work an extra hour? No way.

Are you on the brink of including regular exercise in your life? Are you almost ready to see things this way?