Exercise compliance secret #4: Make exercise romantic

I know. If exercise were this glamorous,

photo via break.com

or this romantic,

photo via simply seleta

you'd exercise every day.  Happily.

So it's worth thinking about why these pictures evoke such powerfully positive ideas about something most people perform with dread, out of a sense of duty rather than love.  The answer, I think, is that these powerful photos convey images of novelty, beauty, and the exotic.

The vast majority of us will probably never own a penthouse with a ceiling pool or enjoy a summer of biking from our cottage to the corner market in Nantucket.  The question, then, becomes this: just how we can create an aura of mystery and novelty when trudging off to the mundane local gym or the windowless basement to exercise?  If we can answer this question, of course, exercise will become beautiful, coveted, and rich.  (At least most of the time).

In order to reach this seemingly unattainable place, where the words beauty, romantic and glamour are paired with the word exercise, we need to find a form of exercise that creates a sense of beauty and awe.

I have found this in Pilates, and I'll explain how.  Pilates is a unique form of exercise unlike any I've ever performed.  It constantly pushes me to learn more about how the human body functions.  With Pilates, my body has undergone a dramatic postural transformation, and it has grown long, lean, graceful, and utterly coordinated.  The complexity and beauty of the exercises constantly engage and challenge.  They are beautiful.  A body looks beautiful while performing Pilates.  How could anyone think it mundane?

photo: Lindsay Hendrickson, via About.com

Pilates takes exercisers on a journey of self-discovery.  It is a journey of discovering the human body.  The limitations, the potential, the strength, and the flexibility are all profound and unique.  As you grow in your practice there is never a dearth of exercise nuance, choreography, technique, or form that cannot be reviewed and improved upon.  This constant introspection and discovery creates the novelty lacking in the gym practice where 100 sit ups are followed by 20 biceps curls, 20 squats ad nauseum.

Pilates may not be your thing.  Look inside and find out what yours is.  Then exercise can be that magnificent, novel, and exciting activity you never dreamed it could be.

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