Letting Go of “Have to Exercise”

The last six weeks I’ve been following “The Smarter Science of Slim™” healthy living plan. It’s a great program and one that I’m still doing, happy to have found a balance that works for me.  But there’s been an unexpected side effect to the program.  I only work out now because I want to.

The Smarter Science of Slim plan has just two 10-minute workouts per week.  They are designed solely to increase your metabolism.  These muscle-quaking sessions are incredibly intense, firing muscles eccentrically (for instance, when you lower the weight from a bicep curl) and they help to keep my body strong and my weight healthy.  But there is no obligation to exercise outside of that.

What this means is I’ve just been picking activities that I enjoy; these keep me moving because I love to move.  I no longer “have to,”  I want to.   It’s been remarkably freeing.

To be clear, Jonathan Bailor, the program designer, still wants you to be active.  He suggests 10,000 steps a day to stay limber and heart-healthy, but really anyway you move works well.

Some days I’ll hoop, I’ve been walking everywhere, I’m about to get my bike out of the basement and tool around town when the weather gets a bit warmer, my family is talking about doing the couch to 5K program, and Pilates, of course, twice a week.  I’ve even been swinging the kettlebells around because it’s fun to do and I like how powerful they make me feel.

All this made me wonder what we all would do if we didn’t “have to” do something.  We could tap the joy of movement, we could be silly, we wouldn’t need a chest strap and a wrist watch to tell us if we burned enough calories, we wouldn’t care!  No logging miles, no expectations, just fun.

How cool is that?

Honestly, I thought my reaction to the reduced amount of exercise would be to slack off and do nothing because I was under no real obligation, but instead I’ve tapped back into what’s fun and I just do what makes me happy.  This works as a great stress reliever and a great way to unplug from my life when I need to.

Can you imagine that?  Do you think if you were told you didn’t need to exercise that you’d be a couch potato?  Or would you embrace your inner child and learn to play again?  I’d love to know your thoughts on this … it’s a different way to think.