Michelle Bridges is a firm advocate for leading a healthy lifestyle. Her #12WBT program is both popular and successful and I’ve seen friends signing up in droves. The premise that you can transform your body (and mind) in just 12 weeks is incredibly compelling, there is no ‘quick fix’ or gimmick – just hard work and commitment. I’m very tempted to sign up… or at least I was…
Now Michelle Bridges, the poster girl for a ‘no excuses’ regime is claiming that exercise is not fun. “If I hear one more health club or personal trainer tell me that fitness should be fun I'm going to vomit”. She says, and boy does she mean it.
I’m not going to argue with her technique, anyone that knows me will know that Michelle could run rings round me in the fitness department, and I mean that in the most literal sense possible. But I do have an issue with the idea that exercise isn’t fun.
I echo the sentiments of Mary Poppins when I say this, but I truly believe that in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun! Human beings are amazingly talented creatures, we can use our bodies in all sorts of ways, we can run, skip and dance. We can build strength and endurance. We can bend and flex and stretch. The human body is capable of some truly amazing feats.
But let’s not forget the biggest muscle of all… our brains. Because while we’re busy giving our bodies a good work out we can use our mind too… we can make our own fun!
It could be a case of picking the right music and moving along to the beat. Or by finding a way to turn it into a game. One of my favourites is to pull faces at the people I pass as I jog along the footpath – I know it’s childish, but it’s also fun.
There are so many possibilities. Listen to a podcast. Pay more attention to the scenery. Get creative!
Different people are motivated by different things. For some the challenge of exercise is motivating, for others its improving on a personal best or competing in a competition. For others, it’s merely the joy of it. Declaring that exercise isn’t fun is actually discouraging a whole group of people to whom having fun is a great motivator.
I believe that our approach to exercise is a metaphor for the way that we approach life. If we’re ‘too busy’ for exercise them perhaps we need to reassess our priorities and value ourselves a little more. If we ‘can’t be bothered’ then we should look at the other areas of our lives that we’ve neglected. And if it’s ‘not fun’ then it might be worth taking a step back and asking why. Because life is short, and if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.