A few weeks ago whilst sipping a fine cappuccino in a coffee shop in Ditchling, West Sussex, we (husband and I) were entertained by a group of lady Morris dancers – and I know there are purists out there who think there is no such thing but these ladies jingled and clashed sticks so I think they count. These ladies were doing a tea shop crawl (thus proving they are not the real thing) and had about another 19 to go. Nice work! Especially if you dance off the calories consumed.
Also in the garden were dogs and their owners and bunch of cyclists in very serious lycra and special shoes for special cycle pedals. Very lithe and muscley, as you would expect from people in such outfits.
We left the shop clutching a plate with two of the special Italian chocolate confections that were made locally. I am compelled to try all foods that I have not eaten before so was rather pleased that these were chocolate and not unusual parts of animals. As we left we came upon a group of walkers clutching maps. Astonishingly, the walkers looked like they were going to walk straight past the tea shop and Italian chocolate pastries.
As we headed back to the car I began to see where we were going wrong. At least on that day. The other groups were all exercising one way or another and had group support to keep them going. (My husband and I had discussed getting our bikes out but colluded instead, in taking the car. Perhaps a group would have not let us get away with it). I presume these people had all chosen activities they enjoyed as they were all looking very cheerful. To be fair, so were my husband and I but the others were also getting exercise and improving their carbon footbprints too
Finding a pleasurable way to move under your own steam, possibly in a group if you need discipline or competition to stop you slacking, is the only really sustainable way to develop an exercise habit. All these people were encountered in or near a coffee shop so maybe combining exercise with other pleasures helps too. You may also need an exercise buddy who will not agree to taking the car.
If you ever felt that you could get away without moving your body on occasions, read Spark by John Ratey and Eric Hagerman. Exercise actually improves your brain function as well as your muscle tone so there are two excellent reasons to do some. In addition there seems to be a correlation between people who exercise regularly and people who keep weight off after a diet. As this is only about 5% of the population, this fact is significant. For more information about diet see my website www.beyondthediet.co.uk