Willpower + Force + Form

Two commonly difficult parts about exercise are showing-up consistently and safety. Adherence to these ritualistic-like practices where we increase our efforts against gravity (on purpose) is truly one of the two most important and yet enigmatically difficult parts of exercise. If someone said that there were 10 million bucks waiting for you in China if you could get there in 24 hours, you would probably go very far out of your way to be on time no matter what was going on in your life. You might also feel very happy being 10 lbs. or so lighter, which might require you to consistently increase your activity level. The results in both examples are fabulous but the latter doesn’t always inspire the necessary behaviors. The fact that we can’t be thin, flexible, and strong in one workout makes it easy for people to rationalize missing one workout. Easy-to-fall-into excuses after the New Years resolutions fade can inevitably reduce exercise frequency to an amount that cannot cause helpful change to your body. Maintenance of mental motivation is just as important as the exercises themselves. An important thing to know is that many folks over the age of 30 have some current or past creak, ache, pain or some part of their medical history that should be considered in the design of a physical activity program (This is one of many types of situations when a consultation with a Physical Therapist would be appropriate). There can be no gain pushing through the wrong kind of pain. You also can’t build muscle or endurance on a misaligned foundation. It is essential to practice good technique even when you are tired or in a hurry. How wrong it would be if you actually went through the trouble of achieving a regular set of fitness practices and then learned one day that you have repetitive-use injuries related to exercise! You need the forces that you apply to yourself to build-you-up and enhance your abilities and not cause any premature breakdowns. Having the willpower to show-up and follow-through on completing the set of individualized challenges that you have chosen for yourself while using good body mechanics is the key to any fitness formula!

Anna Kotula, DPT

1/15/2008

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