DR. HOOK- Get going: Stop making exercise excuses

Exercise, the word, might sound like profanity to some people. Perhaps the "ex" reminds people of negative words like exile, extortion, or ex-spouse. But then there are good words like expert, excellent, xmas. Hmm.

I try to come up with creative solutions with my patients who balk at exercise. Could the readers of The Hook help me out and come up with some new ideas?

Here are five common reasons people say they don't exercise:

#1 - "I don't have time."

True, we're all working longer hours. Instead of Daylight Savings Time, I think we should have Days in the Year Savings.

One day will be 48 hours, so we can work 10 hours and then have 38 hours to play with! Unfortunately, I think most people would abuse their extra time playing more video games, watching more TV, and eating more potato chips– no exercise.

I tell my patients that I work 60-80 hours a week and I still exercise five times/week. (Note: I don't keep tomatoes or sharp objects around when I say this.) I don't say this to be Ethel Merman singing, "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better," but to inspire people to know they can make the time.

#2 - "After I get through this tough time, I'll start to exercise."

Hello, Blanch! Everyone goes through tough times, and they'll never end. Depression, anxiety, and stress can occupy a person's time, and make exercise seem as important as infomercials. But on the other hand, exercise and getting out tend to make things better.

#3 - "Where would I put the equipment?"

Though we don't live in NYC where most homes are 600 square feet, we tend to have a lot of "stuff" in the house. I often suggest putting the exercise bike in front of the 70-foot-wide TV screen, but then they say their 4,000-ton stereo system is still in the way. Feng shui is also an issue, which I laugh at because I'm Asian and I never heard of this until Americans started to talk about it. Maybe one day my advice will shui someone's attitude.

#4 - "It hurts."

Of course it hurts, Daisy! But let's define exercise. You don't have to be like Jane Fonda and kill yourself (or wear leg warmers). There are times in any sport or activity when things get physically tough– which is good for the heart and lungs. I hate being short of breath. That is why I don't run cause it ain't no fun. However, I love music, so I figure skate/ice dance. I can be wheezing away and not care because Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers would never have dared to show the audience they were tired.

#5 - "I'm plain ole lazy."

Well, at least that's an honest comment. I compare this to people who smoke or abuse alcohol. All I can do is encourage them to change their behavior, but it comes down to the person.

Volleyball, softball leagues, tennis, biking, and so much more are out there for everyone to try. The ice rink here in Charlottesville is not only great fun, but there are great sports: ice hockey, figure skating, ice dancing, and making snow cones.

I'm going to be one of the "celebrity" judges this month for a kind of reality TV experience. Lovely professional figure skaters are going to pair skate with smelly, klutzy hockey players for a competitive extravaganza.

So come on out and see if an ice sport can become part of your life.

"Skating with The B-League" Fund Raiser for the YMCA happens at the Charlottesville Ice Park Saturday, April 22, at 6pm. Call for advance tix: 817-2400 or lrusscek@icepark.com .

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