To be clear, this is not an article linking your health to kissing -- you can read that in Cosmo. Nor is it about how to sneak in a squat at the office -- you can read that in any number of fitness magazines. Talk shows and magazines flood us with tips on how to shrink our rear and use new gear to whip us into shape. But do they work? More importantly, do they last?
So often we buy into these fads, believing our bodies (and minds) need a structured exercise format. For most people, a rigid fitness plan coupled with the constant thought of the "time suck" of going to a gym results in a failed New Year's resolution by February. Even worse, it may do more harm than good to your self-esteem and long-term health goals.
What I am going to tell you may eventually help you find love, joy and a new healthy you, but it is not going to come from describing what exercises work best, or what new powder will curb your appetite. The secret in this article comes from a new-found appreciation of the letters in the word "KISS."
Fit people, whether they know it or not, are highly skilled at "KISS-ing." Here's the thing: The best exercise or diet isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. The only successful regimen for a healthy lifestyle is to do what works for you -- what movements you find sacred and what habits you find easy to maintain.
The secret is to KISS: Keep it Sacred and Simple to maintain.
I'm reminded of a story that beautifully captures the individuality of health, about a woman who rises every morning and takes a walk. For her, this walk is not only a way to exercise, but it is also a way to connect herself to others and to her day ahead. She has imagined this hour before sunrise to be her time of prayer and fitness. She walks the streets of her neighborhood, but she doesn't just quickly rush by each house to return home and start her busy day. Instead, she blesses each and every home that she passes. She focuses on the stretching and strengthening of her body and mind with each step, and she passes that feeling onto her neighbors through prayer and good thoughts. For this woman, getting up early in the morning for a walk isn't exercise; it's her treasure. It's easy for her to continue this "regimen" because she enjoys the time of connection that she has created. And in turn, she is probably healthier than most of us.
In real life, consider this: If you look at the things you do in a day, how many of them would you take with you if you were told to pack a bag of care for yourself? And if you would not pack your current health and fitness regimen, then why are you carrying it around with you every day? When many of my clients explain to me their physical activity schedule, they quickly finish by saying "that is not enough is it?" I am empathetic to their angst. We are conditioned in our society that more or new is always better, which in turn has deflated all hope that our personal current form of activity can be counted as a part of a healthy lifestyle. Often if you could just swirl around those goodies in your bag and pull out the ones that are weighing you down, fitness would become a pleasure instead of a "suck."
If you don't always enjoy the gym, or have become tired of running for hours, find what it is you like and make it part of your health routine. It is about feeling the personal connection to these movements, even through simple activities such as singing, dancing, chasing your kids, taking long walks mid-morning or even that mad dash to the train. If you do what you feel entertains and sparks the health bone in your body, you will continue to treat yourself with care: more activity, good fueling foods and so forth.
Who would have thought 10 years ago that we would be able to thwack an imaginary tennis ball across a screen in our living room, or get our groove on with a virtual choreographer? If this is your sacred form of exercise, love it and get into it -- your heart and head will appreciate the KISS.
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