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Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2008 02:12 pm

Hey, lazy bum: get off the couch!

There really aren’t any legitimate excuses for avoiding exercise

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Let’s backtrack to Jan. 1, 2007. You swore you’d stick to your diet and finally rid yourself of that layer of fat that has come between you and your two-piece for years. Well, guess what: Bikini season has passed. The beach crowds are skimpy, but your waistline is still massive. According to Web MD, two-thirds of you are overweight, and a hefty chunk of you are flat-out obese! Those of you who are overweight know the formula for successful weight loss. You’ve heard it and repeated it to yourself time and time again — burn more calories than you take in. This time-tested, well-known truth of weight loss is the angel on your right shoulder pleading “don’t eat that cinnamon roll” and “just walk around the block a few times.” But you have an excuse every time. Here are five of your most common excuses and why they make no earthly sense at all:

I can’t afford a gym membership. 
That’s like saying, “I can’t afford a personal chef so I won’t eat.” You don’t need a gym membership to get moving. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You only need four pieces of equipment: two arms and two legs (and sometimes less than that). Workout DVDs aside, there are many ways to get your recommended hour-a-day exercise in. Jumping rope, walking around the coffee table or house, lifting soup cans, and doing jumping jacks are just the tip of the iceberg. One of my favorite past TV shows, “Housecalls” provides great recommendations. Google “Housecalls” for heart-pumping workouts you can do at home without equipment.
I’m too fat to work out. 
If you feel too intimidated or embarrassed to work out in a gym for vanity reasons, please see the above excuse, Buster. As far as I’m concerned this could be a valid reason depending on your personality and the amount of weight you have to lose. If you are physically unable to exercise due to pain or a medical condition caused by your weight or other factors, please consult your doctor. I’m positive that he/she can prescribe some form of movement that will get you started. Either way, there is no excuse for remaining sedentary.
I don’t need to lose any weight. 
Just because you appear to be skin and bones doesn’t mean you don’t need to exercise. The benefits of exercise transcend the goal of weight loss. For starters, exercising for at least 30 minutes a day has been shown to increase focus, increase your sex drive and improve cardiovascular health.

I’m too old and lazy. 
One of my co-workers said this and left me speechless. It saddens my heart to look at someone who has no hope of being the healthy person he/she was meant to be. It’s never too late to improve your health. You may not have a chance in hell of becoming the slender young thing you were 50 years ago, but you can work on improving your current state of health so that you can better enjoy the next phase of your life. Start with 20 minutes a day and work your way up. Find an activity you love. Involve your entire family. Do whatever it takes to stick with it. Most importantly, you’ve taken care of everyone else. It’s now time to take care of you.
I don’t have time. 
Come on. If you have time to watch your favorite TV show and visit the newest hottest restaurant every week, in some cases every day, then you have time to exercise. This is probably the most common excuse out there. It really shows how much we devalue our personal health. Exercise should be as routine as brushing your teeth and washing your hair. You shouldn’t let anything get in the way of your daily workout. Quit making excuses and make your health your No. 1 priority.

Lea Thomas writes for the
Jackson Free Press, in Jackson, Miss.
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