I recently had a conversation with the ladies that I work with at my office about different types of activities that we like to do for exercise. It’s funny how each of us were so different. For example, one lady likes to run on the treadmill for cardio, the next one said she preferred water aerobics, another said she hated water aerobics and I mentioned how I like exercise classes but hate solely running on the treadmill. All completely different responses! What one person likes, the other hates. This got me to thinking again how it’s important to not tell someone what to do, but let them find what types of activities they like and to stick with it. There is no rule stating “Thou must run on the treadmill to gain benefits of exercise”. You just have to move! Just because you like to do something, doesn’t mean your spouse, friend, sibling etc. will like it too. I could (and have) promoted zumba until I was blue in the face, because that’s truly an exercise I love. This same exercise I love could be torturous for the uncoordinated and socially nervous individual.
What’s my point? If you’re trying to help someone become more active, DO NOT and I repeat, DO NOT tell them what to do. Sure, you can make suggestions because there may be activities out there they have no idea about (i.e. intramural sports, community centre facilities, bootcamp classes at the park, snowshoeing clubs, mall walking clubs etc.).
Time and time again I have read and learned that when it comes to exercise, no one likes being told what to do. We all like to be autonomous and make our own decisions about our lives. We like being in control. If you want to hear more about the psychology behind it, check out the Self Determination Theory (created way before my time in the 70’s-80’s 😉 I wasn’t even thought of at that point). Here’s a quick example: If you’re a smoker, don’t you feel super defensive if someone tells you to quit? It’s not as simply as:
Person A: Quit Smoking.
Person B: Okay.
If that was the case, I’d be telling you all right now, “Go out and get at least an hour a day of moderate to vigorous activity”. How many of you are up and off your bums right now? Believe it or not, if you tell someone what to do, the exact opposite will happen. They’ll think of reasons why they don’t want to do it and they won’t do it. Why? They are controlling their life by saying no. They are making the decision to not do what you just told them to do instead of complying to your request.
I may be naïve in thinking that everyone must like something in order to be active, but I feel as though it has to be true. Please, find what you like and just move. Make this newly Registered Kinesiologist happy and try different activities so you can get the benefits of exercise. There are countless of benefits exercise for health and it also helps boost your mood and look your best.
Yes it’s hard, but JUST MOVE!