On my quest to become a certified personal trainer, I’m constantly amazed by some of the things I learn about how the human body functions. So many reactions occur in order to produce even the simplest movement and sustain our health and vitality. Our bodies do these things without our awareness or effort, and it’s simply awe-inspiring to learn about these amazing vessels that we command without even a thought. It’s impossible not to come away with an immeasurable sense of gratitude and appreciation for what our bodies are capable of, and a renewed desire to take care of them as best as possible.
Let me give you an example: Did you know that inhalation is a voluntary movement in which we consciously contract the diaphragm, thereby increasing the volume of the chest cavity, which draws air in in an attempt to equalize the pressure within our body to that of the outside atmosphere? The thought of it made me realize how fragile we are, how something as vital as breathing relies on a voluntary muscle contraction that we don’t even notice unless we pay attention to it. Or imagine touching a hot surface and quickly pulling your hand away. The number of steps that occur from sensing the heat, to your brain sending a signal to move your hand away, to the nerve impulses that access your muscular system and initiate muscle contraction and pull your skeleton away from the hot surface – it’s mind-boggling that it all happens in milliseconds.
Bottom line: our bodies are freaking awesome. And when we take care of them, they can continue to be awesome for years and years to come.
Next time you’re dreading a workout, take a minute to think about all that your body does for you every day without you even noticing. Don’t you think you owe it to your body to let it run and lift and be strong and healthy and active? When you approach your workouts with a sense of gratitude, it’s easier to enjoy them.
If you still need some help making your workout fun, try mixing it up with some great music. I created a set list of songs of varying tempos and outlined suggested speed and incline intervals for each song to get you moving to the music. As the set list progresses, the intensity constantly changes. This gives you great variety to keep you engaged throughout your workout and maximize the effect of a 20-minute cardio session. I created these for running on a treadmill, but you can try it on a bike, cross trainer, rowing machine, stair climber (if you’re super ambitious!), outdoor running – whatever you want and what works best for you. It’s only 20 minutes and, trust me, it will feel like much less! If it’s too easy or too hard, adjust the speed OR the intensity to make it work for you.
Treat your body to some well-deserved exercise and enjoy what it can do for you!