This month’s title implies a discussion on an exciting new exercise routine, or the latest research resulting in something called the fitness matrix. That would be great, but let’s go a different direction and discuss science fiction. The 1999 film, The Matrix, can be used as a metaphor for exercise. Some would call it a cult classic. For those that have never seen the film, you may not appreciate all the analogies, but the message is clear… exercise is your choice and you have the ability to do it.
The Blue or Red Pill: The decision on whether or not to make physical activity a part of your lifestyle boils down to a simple choice. Many constantly deal with internal struggles. Exercise is no different. You can take the blue pill and continue to keep exercise low on the priority list. This, of course, is the easy way out and you continue living your life in a comfort zone. On the other hand, you can take the red pill and discover the truth: exercise has many benefits and you are capable of attaining those benefits. It may, indeed, be an uncomfortable truth, especially at the beginning. Simply by presenting yourself with this choice, however, you know something (exercise) is missing from your life or doesn’t feel quite right.
Yes… Morpheus: When you choose the red pill, remember that you can get guidance. This comes in the form of friends, family, a hired personal trainer, or a combination of all. Once you decide to find out what the fitness matrix is, a positive support system is important. Morpheus quotes can inspire you to exercise:
- “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the (Fitness) Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.”
- “I didn’t say it would be easy, (Neo). I just said it would be the truth.”
- “Don’t think you are, know you are.”
- “I’m trying to free your mind, (Neo). But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.”
- “There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”
All of these quotes are inspirational, but only if you believe in yourself and your abilities. You have to do it and a support system can help you walk the path.
What would Neo do?: With exercise, the internal struggle starts with the decision of taking the red pill. Along the way, however, there will be obstacles. Self-efficacy is always present. You have to believe in your ability to continue down the path of exercise. External obstacles, then, become the challenge. Usually these come in the form of other responsibilities creating a time crunch. These external obstacles can be overcome with creativity, and most importantly, the belief that you can overcome them. Maybe it’s walking the family dog one day instead of a traditional workout. When you take the kids to the park, do some exercise on the side while the kids play instead of sitting on a bench as your attention shifts from the kids to the phone and back. The point is to free your mind from the idea that it can’t be done, find ways to adapt, and believe in yourself.
Become the Neo of The Matrix Reloaded: As with a lot of science fiction movies, there are sequels. In the second film, the main character has become so comfortable with his new found abilities, that he is essentially unstoppable. The obstacles are brushed off with ease (actually they are kicked, punched, chopped… you name it). Once your confidence is so high, you are also unstoppable. Exercise will be part of life and you won’t consider life without it.