A Fear of Looking Ridiculous...A Barrier to Physical Activity!
Don’t worry...I am not necessarily recommending you do exactly what you see in this picture, but I am suggesting that one of the cultural barriers (organizational and societal) we have around physical activity and exercise is our definition of when, where, and how it should be done.
Let's face it...we get in our own way when it comes to what is acceptable and what is downright ridiculous when it comes to this topic. For example, when I am traveling (which is more than half of my life!) and am waiting for what seems like an eternity at the airport gate, why is it that I am the ridiculous one if I choose to do some squats, lunges, tricep dips, or wall-sits in order to make the most of my time. Why isn't the person sitting in the smoking lounge breathing in first-hand and second-hand smoke and then making me breathe the third-hand smoke from his/her clothing when sitting next to me on the plane the ridiculous one instead?
I am not implying that anyone SHOULD in fact be considered ridiculous...I am just wondering how we came to this point where I am looked at like I am out of my mind if I do a few exercises while I wait in a waiting room at a doctor's office...shouldn't that be the place where any and all healthy behaviors should be embraced and maybe even encouraged?
We have also come to accept the person sitting in a meeting that is multitasking on the cellphone, checking emails and what not, while we get annoyed at the ridiculous person who just can't sit all day and stands in the back of the room instead. This is exactly why I ask for phones to be put away and ask people to exercise when I am speaking or leading training in a group setting. In fact, I am the ringleader of ridiculous exercises when giving a presentation, so that I can get people to see how good they feel and how much better they can focus after doing them!
Sometimes I see people many months or perhaps even years after giving a presentation and they'll say-"hey-I remember you, you taught us how to ‘butt squeeze’ in a meeting in order to improve our energy!" I am pretty sure that they remember more than that, but believe me that practicing the 'gluteus maximus clenches' alongside your peers and even getting a bit competitive while doing it, sticks with you. The reason I pick such an extreme (but fun) exercise is to break the ice of ridiculousness and get a team to see the difference it can make. Well, after that exercise, stopping every once in a while to stretch, do a few squats or calf raises, or even just march in place seems quite normal. I challenge the team to continue implementing periodic 'exercise' breaks (butt squeeze optional) in all meetings to really make it the new normal.
If you ever watch children wherever they are, they seem to always be 'exercising' or moving and playing....airports, waiting rooms, long lines, etc. I sometimes think to myself...what if I did what they were doing right now? Well-I am positive that I would look pretty ridiculous! I am not suggesting you do a cartwheel in a hotel hallway or anything (unless you want to), but what if we played more, moved more, exercised more, and behaved a little bit more ridiculous for the sake of having better health, more energy, better moods, and more fun?! What if we stopped judging others for this and created a culture of accepting play, movement, and exercise from adults in a wide variety of settings? What if this were the new normal?
So, I invite you to #BeRidiculous. I invite your organization to #BeRidiculous. Use waiting time, meeting time, conference call time, public transportation commuting time, watching your kids play time, television time, talking on the phone time, shower time, teeth brushing time, or anytime to play, move, or exercise. You may be surprised by the results you get, despite the strange looks you will most definitely get. If we are all ridiculous, then it won’t be ridiculous anymore! And considering the health, weight, and lack of physical activity issues we are currently facing as a society, this certainly can’t hurt! Give it a try!!
Be on the lookout this week for my ‘ridiculous’ new video, in which I learn how to get a full body workout using my kids’ playground in my own backyard!