by Lila Lazarus
I want to admit something. I used to be a certified couch potato – overweight with little energy or drive to exercise. I knew what I should be doing, I just couldn’t get off the couch long enough to do it. So how does someone with little or no enthusiasm for health and fitness find the strength to get off the sofa? Sometimes, it just takes a gentle nudge.
My gentle nudge came the day I was interviewing a man with no legs for a television story and realized I hadn’t been using mine. I started walking, then running, then doing 5Ks and 10Ks and marathons. And I’ve never looked back. In order to keep it interesting, I move from one form of exercise to the next, and am always looking to try something new. One day yoga. Another day spinning.
Lately, I’ve tried nudging everyone I know with short video posts on Facebook.
Each and every day I go out and find a way to live a little healthier and more adventurous than the day before. I may be running or cycling or kayaking.
Last week, I was stair climbing. (There’s no rule that says exercise has to take place at a gym or requires fancy equipment.) You can get healthy anywhere.
I videotape my escapades and invite people to join me. I’m pleasantly surprised by the number of people who respond to my antics – telling me it was just the ticket to get them off the couch and try something new.
People can find all kinds of excuses not to exercise: lack of time, lack of energy, lack of money, fear of the gym. They’re just excuses. There’s an exercise for everyone. And even the busiest person can find a few moments in their day for something this important. You just need to make exercise a priority. And it doesn’t have to be a full hour. Do short bursts of activity throughout the day. You don’t have to run a marathon. You can walk, garden, dance. Do anything that gets you more active.
So, each day I’m searching for a way to move and I share it on Facebook to inspire others to start today. If people really get how these adventures lead to better health, energy and strength, they’ll stick with it. My daily videos are not about becoming an athletic champion, they’re about becoming healthier and more adventurous. Here are two main messages I try to send out daily:
Choose an activity that makes you happy. If you’re miserable when you run, don’t run. Make it fun. Do what fits your lifestyle. But do something!
Start small. Make a goal that’s within reason. If you don’t think you’ll be able to get out and do something every day, at least commit to three days a week. But commit. Once you achieve that goal, make another one.
Get someone to join you. Become part of a movement across Southeast Michigan to get us all healthier. The research shows you’re more likely to exercise on a regular basis if you ask others to join you. Having your friends or family root for you will keep your motivation strong. That social support encourages you to achieve and maintain your goal. And with social media, it’s easier than ever to get others to join in and cheer you on.
People are always saying to me, “Boy, I wish I had your energy.” Here’s the secret: Move! Physical activity boosts your energy. If you want to feel more alive, more alert, more refreshed I have two words: Join me.
Next time you get up and off the couch to get moving, post a photo or video of your activity to Facebook with #SJJoinme and encourage others to join the movement.
If you want to see some of my crazy escapades, check out my facebook page: www.facebook.com/LilaLazarus