Exercise is important to me and for inspiration, I rely on a number of motivators and role models. I also have some unusual extreme motivators. Why do I call them extreme? Because the imagined scenarios that encourage me to exercise reflect extreme situations.
Confused? Let’s enjoy some herby barley salad with mushrooms while I explain.
First, let’s talk about typical motivators. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, one of the strongest incentives for exercise is looking good. Improved health is another top reason to engage in physical activity. Related to this, you may have a particular medical condition or issue that responds well to exercise. Activity can make you feel better, relieve stiffness and pain (love those endorphins), sleep better, improve your sex life, and even encourage you to eat better.
All of these benefits inspire me to move. If I need extra inspiration, I might think about 80-year-old bodybuilder Ernestine Shepherd. I like the fact that she started exercising at the not so tender age of 56 and worked hard enough to make it into the 2011 Guinness book of world records as the world’s oldest competitive female bodybuilder. Just check out her impressive physique and you’ll find it hard to slouch away from the gym when you’re due for a workout.
Then there’s 66-year-old pole dancer Greta Pontarelli who is a five-time world pole art master’s champion and a former competitor on America Ninja Warriors. And no, it’s not that kind of pole dancing. Check it out.
As Pontarelli says on her Facebook page, she wants to use her art form “to empower others to believe in themselves and to become the best that they can become…and to not let age or any limitation stand in the way of our dreams.”
All fine and good, you’re thinking, but what are the extreme motivators? Dear readers, these are the worst-case scenarios you see in movies and might experience in real life.
For example, after watching a film in which the main character is hanging on to the edge of a building by the sheer strength of his upper body, I vowed to work on pull-ups. This can be a hard exercise for women so I’m focusing on baby steps. I just “hang out” so to speak for a few seconds from a pull-up bar. Eventually I hope to actually pull my body weight up. Because you never know when you might need to hang from a building in order to escape a bad guy or a fire.
And what if you’re in a boat that capsizes? This worst-case scenario was one of the reasons I started taking swimming lessons. Some might be motivated to improve their swimming technique in order to outswim sharks.
Another scenario: attempted mugging or assault. It’s important to know how to punch and in fact, one of my favorite exercises is boxing. I haven’t done it in awhile but it’s not only good for self defense but it’s also a terrific workout and stress reliever. I’ve never tried kickboxing but I think it would work equally as well.
What if you’re in a situation where a harmful gas is released? That aerobic capacity you’ve acquired from swimming could give you enough breath holding power to get out of the vicinity of the toxic fumes.
Tornado coming? Use those strong arms to pull up the door to the underground safe room.
Is the plane you’re on about to make an emergency landing? If you like to sit in the emergency exit row, prepare to use your upper body strength to open the door.
Forced to walk a tightrope by an evil time-traveling sorcerer? Practice those balancing exercises.
Encounter a sketchy drunk who starts following you? Engage those lower body exercise-enhanced and super strong quads to run like the wind.
You get the idea. Just don’t start getting paranoid that all of these worst-case scenarios are going to actually happen. To excel at extreme motivation, you have to walk a fine line between motivation and crippling fear. I know you can do it if you want to.
Until next week, happy dating or not dating and maybe, happy extreme motivation exercising.