“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Martin Luther King

Which emotion do you most equate with physical activity—love or hate? Think about it.

As I write this, it’s Martin Luther King Day, and although we don’t automatically think of him when we think of fitness, I find his wonderful quote quite inspiring in every aspect of life, including fitness.

I LOVE to ramble around outdoors with my friends.

I LOVE to ramble around outdoors with my friends.

Let me explain.

So many people say they hate to exercise. Or they do it because they hate the way their bodies look when they slack off, or they hate the thought of dying of a heart attack. And so either they don’t do it or they grit their teeth and do it anyway, wishing the whole time they were somewhere else, doing something else.

I’ve always been of the mind that if you do something to be “healthy” even though you hate doing it—hate Brussels sprouts, hate the treadmill—how could that possibly contribute to your overall well-being? Doesn’t that just add to health-blasting stress? Same thing for doing something you hate just because you hate the idea of being stricken with bad health.

Although I’ve seen a study that shows that people can benefit from exercise even if they hate it… my thoughts are: why not find something you LOVE TO DO? We’re boxed into the idea that exercise has to be sweating and grunting in a gym, or endless hours on a treadmill to nowhere, staring at a TV screen giving us the bad news of the day. And why not do it out of LOVE FOR YOURSELF and the more vibrant, generous, kind, productive human being that you are when you’re active?

I think she's LOVING this!

I think she’s LOVING this! How much are you loving your physical activity?

And let’s re-define fitness and exercise. If you’re the perfectionistic, highly competitive type, fine, I get it. But most of us just want to be fit enough to get on with our lives and be able to do the things we want to do. Fit enough so our bodies don’t hold us back, but push us forward. And we don’t want to waste time doing something that makes us feel crappy while doing it.

During one of my weight loss group meetings, a member came up with a brilliant solution… She was in the habit of saying to herself, “Ok, now I HAVE TO go to the gym, or HAVE TO take my yoga class. One day, she just flipped it around and said to herself, ”Oh boy, now I GET TO go to the gym, or I GET TO go to my yoga class.” Actually, she made an even bigger change—she stopped going to the gym, and opted for going for regular brisk walks in her local park.

An activity that she LOVES! and that gets the fitness job done well enough.

So, how can you flip it and transform any hate of exercise and yourself to love of a fun activity and your amazing mind and body? What will you GET TO DO today?

As for my GET TO DO—today is one of my non-teaching days, so I GET TO go out and take a walk in the park!

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