The most exciting part about the fitness match is that anyone and everybody can participate in it. You can be of any age, belong to any sex, be endowed with any kind of build… Nobody can discriminate against you, nobody can stop you – except yourself – from entering this wonderful, fulfilling lifestyle. And however much or little you do, you stand to gain. Even if you are a cardiac or hypertensive patient, a diabetic or a myopic, you can be given a special entry pass – certified by your doctor. The medical go-ahead is important because if you are or have been unwell, you need to recuperate before putting your body through the mildest of exercises. The fitness lifestyle is matchless because you do not have to compete with anybody. You are and will remain Number one.
In the initial stage, sometimes you may not feel up to it. You may feel you have taken on an uphill task. But remember, even in a cricket team, a player is not always assured of his place in the side. Does that stop him from playing? Not on your life! He plays on, mustering up all his enthusiasm, his experience, always attempting to strengthen his weak spots. You don’t have to worry about being chosen because the selector is you. Obviously, you can’t let yourself down! So, if you find your enthusiasm flagging, your motivation sinking, rev it up! Think enthusiastic thoughts. Think of the wonderful feelings that will assail you after a vigorous workout. Think how much more effective, how much more productive you will become with fitness by your side. Think how blessed you are to be able to stretch your limbs and move them freely . Think of it as an enjoyable past-time. You will be surprised how swiftly this thinking pattern becomes a habit. How, easy it is to change into your tracksuit. How you long to put down the phone and get on with your workout!
If you are stuck to your seat by inertia, break it by getting up. Pace up and down. Take a shower. As the fresh, life – giving water cascades on you, visualise it as a gush of fitness drenching your skin and getting into your pores. Visualise the great, powerful, positive changes that are yours to splash and revel in. Soap and towel yourself vigorously – it gets your circulation – going.
As the skipper of your team, keep your muscles on the move. Don’t lie down where you can sit. Don’t just sit where you can drive. Don’t drive where you can walk. Don’t walk where you can climb. Flex your mental muscles too. Think of creative ways on how to inject fitness into your normal lifestyle. If you are phone-happy, make an arrangement with your friend. Dial his or her number and let it ring twice at the other end before disconnecting. That is your signal to inform your friend that you are working out. Let your ‘phone-pal wait for about 25 to 3D, minutes before calling back. By then, you are all aglow. Or you and your friend can watch a TV programme in your respective homes, exercising as you watch. The ensuing telephone conversation can be spent in comparing your aerobic scores and the TV-episode you have just watched ‘together’. Such a practice creates a synergy, an exchange of energy, a sharing of an experience.
Or if you are a loner, tag fitness onto an every day activity. If you get two litres of milk every morning, place the vessel on a low fire. Set the timer to 22 minutes (it takes 23 minutes to boil.) Now, you can exercise to music or a TV programme. As the milk simmers, your cardiovascular system pumps on. By the time the milk is ready, so are you!
In the three instances given above, you can inchstep, pedal on your stationary cycle or walk on your treadmill.
When our friends, Suhas and Bakul, decided to give up smoking, they used a neat trick. Every morning, they would tell each other, “Just for today, I will not smoke.” The days flew by until finally they found they didn’t need to smoke at all! And these were the same guys who used to wake up to find an empty cigarette pack and than scrounge around in their ashtrays to grab a few half-stubbed out butts for their morning fix!
You can try the ‘Just for today’ resolution in more ways than one. We have discovered – sure as sunrise-that getting out of bed earlier is far easier than going to bed early. The former ensures the latter. Try it. That one extra hour will make a positive difference. It goes this way:
-Just for today, I shall wake up early.
-Just for today, I shall exercise.
-Just for today, I won’t smoke.
-Just for today, I won’t drink (whisky, not water!)
-Just for today, I won’t touch fat and sweets.
Declaring a fitness-oriented bandh every morning will automatically get you into the inspiring life-giving, healthy zones you are aspiring to. As you get fitter and healthier you will want to shun habits that hinder your stamina. Simultaneously, you will want to re-capture the high feeling induced by the kick hormones and the happy-feeling, hormones that have been activated.
And believe us when we assure you – that in three to six months’ time, you would have forgotten all the initial teething problems you faced while initiating yourself into the fitness life style. The sun will radiate a special smile for you, the plants will wave their green fingers at you. Self-doubts will vanish and in the vacuum created by their absence will flood tranquillity and joy. It is true both scientifically and spiritually – for your body and mind have united in Nature’s rhythm. The body signals, the mind applauds and revels in that special glow that you are enveloped in. When this happens, don’t be surprised to find yourself not-50-subtly pushing a sedentary friend into the fitness lifestyle with a gentle, “What’s the score today, pal?”