It is easy to continue declaring the importance of physical activity. Anyone can holler from the fitness soapbox to hammer home the message. For some, however, the idea of exercise is intimidating. Maybe your perception of exercise is skewed. It is also possible that it’s not about understanding, but you simply downplay the importance of exercise in your life. In both scenarios, it can be difficult to be convinced of just how important it is. Whether you are having this debate internally or with others, understanding your own perception of and perspective on exercise may help.
Although perception and perspective are related, they aren’t exactly the same. How you perceive things, including exercise, is your reality. It may be influenced by your experiences and personal feelings. If your perception of exercise is what you see in commercials, for example, that can be intimidating. For some, it is inspirational to see the spandex-laden, athletic actors running through the streets (then meeting all their other athletic friends later for a popular light beer). Others may find it overwhelming and actually believe that if they can’t perform at that level, it’s not worth it. The true reality, of course, is that you don’t have to exercise at that intensity to feel better and reap the health benefits of exercise. Convincing yourself to take 20 or 30 minutes a day to perform some sort of planned physical activity may be difficult, but well worth it.
In addition to coming to terms with your perception of exercise, you may also have to overcome your perspective. If your perception…..intimidation and/or lack of understanding of what exercise can really do for you is not a factor, maybe you simply don’t make it a priority. There are many different factors that affect your perspective on topics, again, including exercise. The list of reasons you don’t exercise regularly is probably a little different from another’s. This is where the challenge begins. From your perspective, you know exercise will help you feel better. Taking time to write down your personal list of reasons not to exercise will help you understand those barriers and you can begin planning how to overcome them. A quick internet search will produce numerous articles and lists of barriers to exercise. The difference is those lists aren’t specific to you. Sure, there may be some overlap, but making your own list will force you to analyze yourself and look at exercise from a new perspective. Creating a new perspective on exercise and making it a priority may rearrange your daily routine, but it is well worth it and you know it.
Although perception and perspective aren’t the same, they definitely affect one another. All habits and activities require some level of ‘want to.' Should you decide to make your list of barriers to exercise in the hopes of gaining a new perspective, that will immediately affect your perception. If that exercise (pun definitely intended) results in a personal revelation about how you can include exercise into your daily routine, that is a change in perspective. That new perspective can immediately change how you perceive exercise. Now, not only do you know exercise is important, you know how to get there and that you are capable. The first step is always the most difficult. Find your motivation and, if necessary, change your perception and perspective.