There aren’t many activities in life where just showing up guarantees results. That’s because life is hard. Building a business is difficult, there’s not a step-by-step formula for success. Relationships are complex and can fail even if you do everything right. But there is one thing in life that’s a guarantee: Exercise.
Nothing so simple can have as much of a positive effect on your life. Exercising is by far the smartest thing you can do if you want to live a happier, more active, longer, more vibrant, more energetic life. I’ll go as far as saying that it is essential for true success because well-being defines success. And it’s not even hard to do.
Do you believe me when I say its “simple”?
Here’s why I consider exercise to be simple: 80% of the benefits from exercise are from showing up and exerting yourself. Virtually no training is required. Your body was built for physical activity. You don’t need to think about it or worry that what you’re doing is wrong. Any physical activity for an extended period of time on a regular basis counts as exercise. Just keep it simple to start and do natural human motions: running, pushups, pullups, jumping, dancing, etc.
Obviously there are ways to make exercising even more beneficial by learning more or following specific workout programs, which requires additional effort. When you are ready for more advanced programs, remember to start light, use proper form, and over time add more weight and/or run faster. As you become physically fit and push yourself harder, exercise becomes very challenging. But at its most basic level exercise is stupid easy.
I mean seriously, think about it. You don’t have to know anything or do anything extremely difficult. Exercise only requires that you show up and try. And IF you do this, you will have more energy, feel better about yourself, and see improvements in your health and motivation, at a minimum.
Is this obvious to you? Then why don’t you do it…
You are probably saying to yourself, “I know, I know…exercise is good for you. Everyone knows that exercise is good for you…” If you’re saying this and you already exercise regularly then you most likely haven’t read this far. If you feel this way, but you don’t actually exercise, before you stop reading, hear me out.
How can it be that you know exercise is good for you, yet you fail to do it? Either you don’t really know how good it is for you, you don’t care how good it is for you, or you’ve created bad habits in your life that prevent you from getting started and building momentum. I’m going to rule out that you don’t care because if you’ve read this far, it shows that you care about your health. That leaves 2 options: you don’t truly understand the benefits or you are stuck with poor habits:
Take 1 minute to read the benefits of just a SMALL amount of exercise…
I read the standard physical activity guidelines that the U.S. Health and Human Services Department puts out which discuss the benefits of moderate physical activity for 2.5 hours a week. To put this in perspective, an example of moderate activity was “brisk walking”. In almost all cases, the benefits are greater if the intensity is increased. Some of the health benefits included:
-If you walk briskly for 2.5 hours a week, you are 25% less likely to die early, meaning die before your expected age. If you increase this to 7 hours a week, you are 40% less likely to die early.
-As many as 250 000 deaths per year in the United States are attributable to a lack of regular physical activity. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the 5 major risk factors (along with high blood pressure, abnormal values for blood lipids, smoking, and obesity) for cardiovascular disease, as outlined by the AHA.
-Exercising will improve your mental well-being. Exercising just 2-3 times a week showed significantly less depression, anger, distrust, and stress.
-Exercising for just 10 minutes at a moderate level is shown to improve mood and reduce fatigue.
-Even in people who are clinically diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, just 30 minutes of exercise for 10 days in a row significantly improved mood and reduced depression symptoms.
It took me less than 10 minutes to find the above information. That is just the tip of the iceberg as far as clinical information goes. I can tell you from my own personal experience that exercise recharges me. When I go through a day without exercising, I can feel the lack of energy. And if I miss a few days, I actually feel myself getting depressed and the lack of exercise begins to affect other areas of my life.
My challenge to you…
Are you ready to commit to exercising? If so, don’t wait. Prove it to yourself. Do 10 push ups RIGHT NOW. If you can’t do 10, do 1. If you can’t do a pushup, do something else to mark your commitment to improving your life by exercising.
Now commit to exercise daily for 2 weeks and see what happens. Just show up every day and give 100% effort for 20-30 minutes. Keep it really simple too. Jog until you can’t jog anymore. Then walk as fast as you can until you have to slow down. If this is too simple, do as many push-ups as you can, take a short break, and do more. The easiest way to start is to stick to pushups, pullups, air squats, jogging, and sprinting. If this is too BORING, find a workout program that you can get excited about. Find something that works for you, that you feel comfortable with. The most important thing is that you show up every single day, spend 20-30 straight minutes, and give 100% effort at whatever you choose to do. That’s all it takes.
When you start, keep yourself motivated by visualizing the changes that will eventually happen to your body, but don’t focus too much on progress until you’ve proven to yourself that you have the discipline to commit to exercising. After you get through 2 weeks, start to focus more on tracking your progress and setting personal goals.
Do this and see how your life changes. See how good it makes you feel. And then, only after you’ve proven that you are willing to show up and after you’ve proven to yourself that its worthwhile, start to worry more about the details. Once you’ve developed the habit of showing up, start to set more specific fitness goals and then find ways to meet these goals. But right now, if you aren’t in the habit of exercising regularly, just do it! Go now! Start today! It’s the biggest bang-for-your-buck, mindless, activity that is guaranteed to improve your life.