Challenging Assumptions About Exercise

Zen4 Free Woman

For many, exercise is uncomfortable. It may be the very idea of it or factors that surround the actual activity i.e. getting sweaty, physical discomfort or the amount of time needed to complete exercise. Whatever the reason, real barriers are standing in the way of our physical and mental health.

We like to be comfortable. Whether it’s setting the thermostat for just the right temperature or wearing the softest sweater we can find, we’ve become accustomed to our cushy lives. The idea of physical discomfort—even the mildest form—keeps many from getting off the couch. But I challenge this idea with a question. Is exercise really that uncomfortable or are our lives just a little too comfortable? Furthermore, perhaps our assumptions about physical activity are what’s getting in the way of actually doing something about it.

So, let’s begin by creating a new attitude around the idea of “working out” and exercise and just think about movement. Push aside what you know and think about exercise and instead think about what can you do to increase your physical activity.

Increasing movement can improve our physical and mental health as well as emotional well-being. It can improve our sleep, increase our strength, flexibility and endurance as well as boost our immune system. Plus, movement releases endorphins that make us feel good.

Movement is more than just exercise. It’s about getting creative with how we use our bones, ligaments, and muscles. It can vary from small tiny internal motions, to big external movements visible for all to see. Many people say they don’t have time to exercise, but movement is something we all can do. And, no two people are alike so pick movements that work for YOU.

Don’t think in terms of needing to exercise at a certain time of day or a certain number of times per week. The goal is increase and do any type of movement. And…pay attention to how the different movements make us feel. Seriously, this could be as simple as standing up and sitting down, waving your arms around in a circle, or parking far away to give yourself a few extra steps.

In addition to increasing our activity, it’s important to get outside. And more important than actually getting outside is changing our scenery and routine. Variety is the spice of life and varying our activity and location may actually make sure we stay engaged and keep up the good work. If walking around the house is your thing, keep it up but take it to the park or mall. If you like to clean, consider offering to help a friend or volunteer. A lot of places would welcome someone to help them get organized and keep things tidy.

And finally, relax and let loose. While an intense work-out or yoga session can feel great, alternative movement activities can lighten up our minds and bodies driving inspiration and creativity. So, move, get outside and don’t worry so much about what the movement is – just move! Pretty simple. Don’t you think?

Sarah Merkle is an author, health coach, yoga teacher, and motivational speaker on a mission to transform lives. She is the founder of Zen4, a company that helps organizations achieve their full growth potential by providing Connected Employee Solutions.  Visit to learn more.