Guest Post: You Don’t Have to Exercise

Exercise is a choice. Trevor Jewell, a certified personal trainer, explains that while you don’t have to exercise, you should definitely consider it.

By Trevor Jewell, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer

Updated You Don't Have to Exercise.png

You will definitely get more gratification from grabbing a pint of ice cream and putting your feet up for a Netflix binge. Obviously, we don’t exercise because we have to. No one is holding a gun to your head while you sweat and gasp for air in a crowded gym as the seconds of your life tick away on a treadmill timer. We exercise because we want to! We want to feel good, look good, and live long and happy lives free of pain and injury, so exercise becomes worth it.

fitness-1677212_1920

Many of my clients have told me during their consultations that they don’t like exercise. Cardio is boring, weights are intimidating, ab work hurts too much, the list goes on and on. But all of them, every single one, enjoys the feeling of having completed a tough and energizing workout. The important difference is, after discussing their goals, they have input on their workout plan in the form of choice.

Hate cardio? No problem! I’ll offer you routines with moderate intensity interval training that mimics the aerobic effect of jogging. Weightlifting too intimidating? We’ll try out different bodyweight routines that incorporate resistance training without ever touching anything but the floor. Ab work hurts? How about a few functional fitness games that utilize your core without shredding it like an 8 minute ab routine from Women’s Health magazine. For my advanced clients, I plan days where they get to use what they’ve learned and choose their own workouts while I simply help align their choices with their goals and provide coaching as needed.

sport-2250970_1920

The point is, almost everyone performs better in an environment where they don’t feel trapped and locked into a routine. This is why hiring a personal trainer can be a truly liberating experience as people realize they never have to touch an elliptical again if they don’t want to, but can still lose weight! If you are dragging your feet on the way to the gym to half-heartedly complete yet another round of the same old routine, it’s time to incorporate more choice into your workout.

It should come as no surprise that freedom of choice can lead to better results outside of the gym as well. In a recent study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, scientists discovered a direct link between having choice in a workout and making healthier diet selections. Two test groups were given instructions to exercise and then allowed to eat at the same buffet. One group was forced to complete an exact routine, while the other was allowed to choose their type of exercise, starting time, and even background music. Upon reviewing their trips to the buffet, the authors discovered that those with more choice in their workouts consistently ate less calories (587 versus 399 kcal) and chose healthier foods than their counterparts!

weights-1634747_1920

If you’ve ever piled three extra slices of pizza on your plate as a reward for going to the gym that morning, you know exactly how the “forced” participants were feeling. Treating an exercise routine as something you have to “get out of the way” or “get over with” will cause you to feel trapped, and to disassociate your workouts with your life. Our goal as personal trainers is not to force people to get healthy, but to get them to associate an energizing workout in the gym with the overall goal of a healthy lifestyle. We don’t have to exercise, we choose a higher quality of life, and have fun doing it!

 

Trevor Jewell is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with EnDevor Health: Connecting doctors, exercise physiologists and personal trainers to truly implement Exercise is Medicine in patients’ lives, located in Columbus, OH

37 Things You Can Do to Live a More Fulfilling and Meaningful Life

A unique list of things you can do for personal growth and development.

By Cassie Jewell, LPC

updated 37 things you can do to live a more fulfilling and meaningful life (1).png

If we don’t strive to meet our goals and to improve on a regular basis, we become stagnant. If we aren’t growing and learning, our minds become lethargic. This post comes from a bullet journal list I originally created for my own personal development. While my focus is often intellectual (seeking knowledge and attaining education), other life areas are equally important to cultivate.

According the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), there are eight dimensions of wellness:

Emotional—Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships

Environmental—Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being

Financial—Satisfaction with current and future financial situations

Intellectual—Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills

Occupational—Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work

Physical—Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep

Social—Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system

Spiritual—Expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life

Find additional SAMHSA links in the “Books, Links, and Resources” section of this blog. SAMHSA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. Anyone can access free publications, workbooks, and fact sheets on substance use disorder and addiction by visiting the SAMHSA website. Additionally, free online tools are available to assist with locating treatment services.

In order to maintain balance, it helps to have a variety of wellness strategies in your toolbox. The following list is comprised of 37 ideas for personal/professional development, self-improvement, and creating healthy habits.

1. Read one inspirational/motivational book per month or

2. Read one wellness article per week.

3. Take advantage of free classes offered at the library or through Coursera. (Coursera provides universal access to education, partnering with top universities and organizations. Similar sites: Course Buffet and EdX.)

4. Take part in a new activity or event to step outside your comfort zone. (Examples: Join a book club, take a cooking class, join a Meetup.)

5. Make time for an old friend.

6. Come up with an exercise routine, write it down, and then stick with it. No excuses.

7. Start walking your dog.

8. Complete household tasks and chores on a daily basis; don’t procrastinate.

9. Stay informed on the latest science and health news and research by regularly browsing Science DailyYou can also subscribe to their email list or download the app. (Today’s headline? Researchers have, for the first time, coaxed human stem cells to become sensory interneurons — the cells that give us our sense of touch.)

10. Explore an unfamiliar topic. Learn how to knit or take a self-defenses class. If your health insurance company offers online workshops or webinars, go ahead and register for one.

11. Don’t neglect your sleep hygiene. If you’re unable to adhere to a regular sleep pattern due to work or other life circumstances, at least make your bed a soft and inviting place.

12. Improve your posture. (And yes, there’s an app for that. Personally, I think a posture corrector brace would be a better investment. I’m planning on ordering one from Amazon.com and will post a review.)

13. Read a non-fiction book.

14. Take daily inventories; evaluate your attitude and productivity.

15. Drink more water, green tea, and black coffee. Drink less wine, beer, sweetened beverages, and sugary sodas.

16. Practice active listening.

17. Overcome a fear.

18. Identify your “blind spots” and make a commitment to change. Seek feedback from a friend or loved one if necessary. (An example of a blind spot could be a husband who never offers to help his wife with the chores; he’s so comfortable in his routine that he doesn’t recognize how hard she works. It’s not that he’s lazy or unhelpful; it’s a blind spot for him because it hasn’t been brought to his attention. Or, it could be a woman who doesn’t recognize that she constantly complains, creating a negative environment for those around her. Or it could be a man who constantly interrupts; he’s so focused in that he doesn’t recognize how frustrated his peers feel.)

19. Find a mentor (or be a mentor!)

20. Try a 30-day challenge to improve your wellness.

21. Meditate and practice mindfulness. If that’s not your thing, start a new morning or evening ritual. Spend a few minute alone drinking coffee, reflecting on your day, writing in a journal, etc. Find a ritual that works for you and then do it daily.

22. If the idea appeals to you, dress up, style your hair (or get a blowout), do your makeup/get a makeover, get a manicure, and wear your favorite heels. If that’s unappealing, put on your comfiest clothes and enjoy. (Wear your sweatpants like a BOSS!) If you’re not interested in make-up or sweatpants, find another awesome way to treat yourself.

23. Go a week without complaining; practice optimism. If your regular, everyday temperament is already optimistic, find a way to step up your game. (Do a kind deed or give someone your undivided attention for as long as they need it.)

24. Complete a task you’ve been putting off. (Go as big or as small as you want with this one.)

25. Take advantage of TED Talks.

26. Cook and enjoy a healthy meal.

27. Learn how to juggle.

28. Learn a foreign language or sign language.

29. Give a spontaneous gift or help a stranger.

30. Create a vision board.

31. Volunteer.

32. Be a tourist in your hometown. (If you live in a big city, you might be able to find a free walking tour. If you’re local, check out free DC walking tours. Disclaimer: I haven’t been on a DC walking tour, but I’ve been on foot tours in other cities. You don’t have to pay for the tour itself, but the tour guide will expect a tip.)

33. Donate blood.

34. Learn the lyrics to a song (or rap) of your choice.

35. Complete a DIY Pinterest project from one of your boards.

36. Pick up trash in your neighborhood.

37. Send hand-written “Thank Yous” or postcards.

Additional Ideas: Run a 5K (or 10K!) Adopt an elderly pet that needs a home.


Updated January 27, 2018

Please leave a comment if you have creative ideas for self-improvement!

30 Thirty-Day Challenges

A unique list of wellness-based thirty-day challenges.

By Cassie Jewell, LPC

 

updated 30.png

There are plenty of 30-day challenges out there, but this post is unique in that all the challenges listed are wellness-based. It may seem counterintuitive; after all, balance is at the foundation of wellness. However, quitting a harmful habit, like smoking, would drastically improve your overall health, which would then enable you to achieve true balance. And the thirty-day challenge, while not a scientifically proven method, allows the perfect opportunity to quit harmful habits while developing healthy ones. Plus, it’s fun, especially when several people (or a group of people) participate. Read on for 30 exciting ideas for thirty-day challenges.
 

Difficulty Level – Easy

1. Give one compliment per day

2. 30 days of flossing

3. Five minutes of mindful breathing every day

4. 30 days of gratitude journaling

5. Set sleep schedule for 30 days

6. 30 days of matcha or green tea

7. Learn a new vocabulary word every day for 30 days

8. Daily act of kindness

9. Read a random Wikipedia article every day for 30 days

10. 30-day dog walk challenge

11. Write a daily poem or short story

12. No cursing for 30 days

13. Pray (or spend time in quiet reflection) every morning

14. Watch a TED Talks (or similar) every day

Difficulty Level – Medium

15. 30-day vegan challenge

16. 30 days of following a strict budget (no “wants,” only “needs”)

17. 30-day gym challenge

18. 30-day documentary challenge

19. 30-days of cleaning and organization; the decluttered home challenge

20. No fast food, no carryout, and no dining out for 30 days

21. Write a book chapter daily

Difficulty Level – Hard

22. 30-day art challenge (one drawing or painting per day)

23. 30-day Pinterest challenge (one Pinterest project a day)

24. No social media

25. 30 days of no caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or other substances

26. No driving for a month

Difficulty Level – Nearly Impossible!

27. No cell phone or Internet (except for work-related use); the 30-day unplugged challenge

28. One hour of daily exercise

29. 50 sits ups or crunches daily

30. Sugar-free challenge


Please post your ideas for a 30-day challenge in a comment!