I’m in the process of getting recertified as a CPR/AED instructor (which is what prompted this post). While I’ve been certified as an instructor for about 12 years, I have been CPR certified for at least 30 years. I’ve used CPR twice, once on a subway in NYC and once in a gym, also in NYC. One of individuals lived and the other did not. Both times I was thankful that I could do something to help. CPR may not always save a life, but it gives the individual the best chance possible.
What am I talking about?
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) consists of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing, although it has now been established that even just performing chest compressions can still be very effective at sustaining life.
Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is a method of delivering an electrical shock to someone that is in cardiac arrest (a sudden stopping of regular heart beats). The AED essentially shocks the heart back into a regular rhythm. While you may not have an AED at your home, most restaurants, health clubs, airports, and public buildings now have them. Don’t be afraid to use them. To see how simple it is to use and AED, check out this video of this AED.
This post is actually a plea to readers to get certified. While anyone can suffer a cardiac event, as we get older, it becomes more likely that it will be a friend, a family member, or our spouse. Imagine if it happens and you are not prepared. How would that make you feel? (yes… I know. Guilt trip. But it is so easy to learn and so important to have, that I don’t mind throwing a little guilt your way.)
“I have to go workout.” is often said with a groan. Typically people don’t want to do it, but they feel that they have to do it. It’s like going to the dentist or doing the grocery shopping, a chore. This view, exercise as a chore, does not make you feel all warm and fuzzy about it. Chores, inherently, are things we would prefer not to do. Here’s the kicker, though, a simple change in prospective can turn how you feel about exercise to something positive. “In every job that must be done, There is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap! The job’s a game.” (from A Spoonful of Sugar, in case you weren’t sure.)
Now, I’m not suggesting taking a spoonful of sugar, just that you look at exercise as something positive, a gift to yourself. Imagine getting up early. It can be positive or negative depending on what you are going to do. If the boss wants you in early to finish some work, getting up early might be a chore. If you are getting up early to get head to the beach, it’s a gift and you’re happy to get out the door. Reframing our self talk from “I have to” to “I get to” is a start. The “have to”s are when we focus on the thing we are going to do. i.e. “I have to do 30 minutes of cardio.” or “I have to go lift weights.” The “get to”s, on the other hand, focus on the benefits we gain from the act. i.e. “I get to become stronger which will make my daily activities easier.” or “I get to improve my health which will help me be around for my grandchildren.” or even “I get to take class with my friends.”
Mindset matters. Take a week or two, and try this out. As you prepare yourself for your next workout, find a couple of “get to”s that helps you to look forward to it. It doesn’t take long to see that because you “get to” workout, your health, your physical and even your mental capabilities are all going to be better for it.
I’m going to leave you now. I “get to” teach a fitness class to some of my favorite people. Wouldn’t miss it for the world.
I know this sounds a little flippant, but the point I’m really trying to make is that the act of getting more fit doesn’t require a major time commitment, or gut wrenching effort, it just requires you to do a little more than you are currently. That increase in activity will start you on your way to change.
When thinking about doing more, there are a few variables that you can consider. Choose one to start with.
More Frequency – This could be more times per week or even more times per day. Maybe what you’re currently doing is a five or ten minute walk in the morning with your dog. More frequency might mean taking an extra five minute walk at lunch and/or before dinner. If you’re actually hitting the gym twice a week, maybe you squeeze in one more workout in the week (even a short one).
More Intensity – This essentially means making the effort level higher. This can be done by increasing the speed of movement, the resistance, or, if you are doing intervals or sets, decreasing the rest in between.
More Duration – Do what you’ve been doing, but longer. This could be more time or more repetitions (which will also take more time).
So, no matter what you have heard about the time and effort it takes to get fit, changing your fitness level doesn’t require endlessly long or endlessly intense workouts. It just requires that you do more than you are currently doing.