Instead of standing up to file papers, I’d scoot over to the file cabinet in my rolling office chair. After work, I flopped on my sofa where I sat contentedly until bedtime. I was living a sedentary lifestyle to the max and loving every minute of it.
As Newton’s Law of Motion explains, a body at rest tends to stay at rest. Even though my office building had a gym – and I had a free membership – I just kept finding reasons to not work out: I was too busy to work out on my lunch break; too tired to work out early in the morning; too stressed out at the end of the day to stick around. Then my boss started a four-week fitness challenge. He offered cash prizes to the team with the most exercise hours logged. The coworkers in my department insisted on participating, and they really wanted me to join in. And, well, I can’t pass up an opportunity to win cash.
I didn’t look forward to working out, especially at work. All I could envision was getting sweaty in the middle of the day or looking foolish in front of my coworkers. When I walked into the employee fitness center, though, I couldn’t believe how clean and fresh it smelled, and how welcoming everyone was. I decided I’d try to keep an open mind, although I wasn’t optimistic that I could stick with any exercise program.
On the first day of the challenge, we met in the gym during our lunch break. Thankfully, we started out easy. I warmed up with five minutes on the treadmill before hitting the elliptical for 15 minutes. My legs were killing me, but I didn’t want to let my team down.
Showering after working out is important to me, and I thought we wouldn’t have time to shower before returning to work. I was wrong. With the quick workout, I had plenty of time to shower. I even had time to eat the salad I had packed for lunch!
Every day, we kept up the same routine. After a week of regular workouts, I noticed I didn’t feel as sore afterwards. Each week, I felt my body progressively growing stronger as I tried out different machines. I actually started looking forward to our daily workouts.
A few weeks into the fitness challenge, I noticed I felt a lot less stressed out. I was sleeping better, waking up refreshed in the morning and looking forward to work. I stopped making excuses for why I couldn’t work out, because I actually wanted to go to the gym! And I started rewarding myself when I achieved a goal, which helped me stay motivated.
Because I felt so much better physically and emotionally, I made working out a priority, even after the fitness challenge ended. And just to make sure I don’t fall back into my old bad habits, I bought a few pieces of exercise equipment so I can work out, even when I don’t really feel like leaving the house.
Just making myself show up that first day of the fitness challenge was the hardest part. After that, working out became a habit.
It’s easier than you think to get off the sofa and into the gym, and the physical and psychological benefits are amazing. Take that first step; you’ll be glad you did.
About the author: Danielle blogs on behalf of Sears and other brands she uses. She’s following her own advice and sticking to a regular exercise routine this holiday season. She’s happy about that and feels the best she has in years.