Staying Committed to Exercise: A Fathers Point of View

Staying Committed to Exercise: A Fathers Point of View

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
  1. On Saturday, a day before Father’s Day, I went to Memorial Park to distribute water and Gatorade to runners and share information on my fitness Boot Camp.

    In two hours, I met some amazing folks who told their stories about why they were running or how they were trying to get back in shape. The significance of meeting a father-son pair didn’t strike me until a day later on Father’s Day. The father, I’m guessing, was in his upper-50s and his son, mid-2os, both overweight. Their sweaty shirts clung to their bodies and they appeared to have exerted themselves on their walk, and they were out of breath as they spoke with me.

    When the son was out of earshot, his father told me their story. His son had a crush on a woman and had decided that he needed to lose some weight in order to have a shot at dating her. Both had made a pact to walk together each weekend morning – the son getting his weight down to improve his appearance, the father recognizing he needed to get moving to improve his longterm health.

    I told them I was proud of them. In 90+-degree weather on a Saturday morning, they committed to a goal. The father then told me that he could barely run 20 yards without feeling he was going to collapse. He asked, “How do I get past that?” I told him, “You do what you’re doing now. You stay committed. The body is amazingly adaptable, and it will continue to adapt to the pressures you place it under. Twenty yards evolves into a faster 20 yards, which becomes 80 yards, which evolves into a mile.”

    He seemed satisfied with the response. They finished their Gatorade, thanked me and walked away.

    About 10 minutes later, they came back to the table, and the father admitted that he had noticed over the last several weekends of walk/running that it had become easier for him to run – even the short distance. He was confirming my earlier point. I again told them how proud I was of them and told them to stay committed.

    They left and the father came back to the table a third time. My story didn’t change: I told him that I was proud of him and to stay committed. He thanked me again and left. Sometimes people need a bit of encouragement. They need to hear that they can achieve their dreams, even when they know deep down they can, but it’s always inspiring to hear it from someone else.

    It wasn’t until the next day, Father’s Day, that I put my visit with them in context. People exercise for a number of reasons: to look “hot” for the high school reunion or beach, to look good to a potential mate, to improve our health, to participate at a high level in a sport that we love, to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes after workout – and sometimes just to prove it to ourselves.

    Though the reasons are different, the achievement of the goal is the same: commitment … stick-to-it-ness … an “I will not be denied” mindset.

    And sometimes the commitment and love of a father, who wants the very best for his son, is all the motivation that’s really needed.

Leave a Reply