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Resistance to Exercise

Many sedentary-type people have had such negative experiences from childhood sports, physical education classes, or the dance class our mother forced us to attend, or are so habituated to spending hours in front of the TV or computer screen, that we have completely suppressed any sensations from our body about its need for movement. By paying attention to subtle but constant messages - such as tense muscles, a restricted range of movement, shallow breathing, or lethargy - with some practice we can begin to notice that muscles were made to be used.

You may be tempted to feel guilty if you aren't exercising regularly. The reasons why we don't move more are as many and varied as the people who ask the question. Take Jack, for example.

He doesn't hate exercise - he just hates boredom. He's often experienced them as one and the same. Left to himself, he would rather spend the morning listening to music, reading a good book, or doing a crossword puzzle. But his whole world brightens when an energetic friend appears at the door inviting him to go swim, to play tennis, to take a hike up a nearby mountain.

For Jack to berate himself for his lack of self-motivation would be a great energy waste. For him to consciously program situations in which he will have others to accompany him while he works out will meet his needs for both emotional stroking and physical exercise.

Roselyn, on the other hand, loves to run alone along the flat country roads near her home. Every morning she does yoga for one hour. Every evening she does tai chi, a slow, dancing form of martial art.

For Roselyn to dictate what Jerry needs would be foolish and frustrating. For Jerry to expect Roselyn to react as he does would be unrealistic. They are unique and extraordinary individuals. Each will be happy only if they trust their own internal messages and design their environments so they can best meet their own needs for exercise. The options are almost limitless. Remember that the one wayto wellness is your way.

but if the dance of the run
isn't fun
then discover another dance
because without fun
the good of the run
is undone
and a suffering runner
always quits
sooner or later.
—Fred Rohe, The Zen of Running

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