The best gift we will ever receive is good health. But only one person who can deliver it to you: you. Resolutions won’t do it. Advice on diet and exercise won’t do it. Expensive gym memberships and equipment won’t do it. Fancy fitness clothes won’t do it.
In my case, physical fitness became a necessity. Otherwise, I would live a life of pain. But too many of us choose that lifestyle, despite knowing the benefits of exercise and a healthy diet.
The problem is in our heads. I know, it was in my head for a long time. We approach exercise as a chore, a burden to be borne. We approach healthy eating much the same way. We feel deprived when we eat healthy foods—deprived of burgers, fries, brownies and countless other high-calorie, low nutritious foods.
But those things we perceive as a burden, a chore, a deprivation, those things cut short our quality of life and ultimately cut short our precious time on earth itself. They mean less time – including quality time—with our loved ones and friends. They mean fewer books read, movies seen, concerts attended, music enjoyed. They mean fewer days, months, or years, swimming, hiking, strolling, playing.
Exercise and healthy eating gain us more time, more quality time. We buy that time when we lift a weight, jog, ride a bike, jump rope, and eat fruits and vegetables. Is that a burden? Is that deprivation? We can do only two things on our own to achieve good health: exercise and healthy eating. We can certainly stop doing unhealthy activities like smoking or sitting for hours in the sun without sunscreen, but halting those activities is simply addition (to our health) through subtraction. Healthy eating and exercise are pure positives.
When we exercise, instead of concentrating on the difficulty, let’s try concentrating on the benefits. Instead of saying, “Just one more mile, thank God,” let’s say, “Another step, another minute of good health. Another mile, another hour with my family.”
Only a healthy lifestyle makes sense. Let’s weave it as seamlessly as possible into our lives. Physical fitness should be as welcome and comforting as an old friend, as natural as a hug and laughter. How can such a gift be a burden?