Surround yourself with people who inspire you
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Consider the people you spend the most time with. Do you do active things together? Do you both value an active lifestyle? Do they motivate or inspire you to move more, eat healthier or live your best life?
I feel very fortunate that I am surrounded by people all day at ParticipACTION who value physical activity like me. We stand in meetings, take walking breaks and do fun, active stuff together. I feel even more fortunate to have landed myself an active partner! One of the traits I love the most about him is his spirited commitment to living a healthy, active life. He walks the walk and talks the talk. Every day. And let me tell you, its contagious!
I’m no slouch – but there’s something about the way he prioritizes exercise that’s rubbing off on me. Here are a few ways my partner makes me more active:
1. He compliments my strong body. This has to be No. 1 on the list. Instead of throwing more expected compliments my way, he often makes positive comments about my muscular legs that help me hike longer and cycle faster, arms that can lift heavy things and strong abs under the fleshy bits. He notices the parts of my body that help me move and be active. This is super motivating and it just makes me feel good!
2. He (almost) always makes the active choice. Every day we’re presented with many options and have to make many decisions. With the help of technology and the modern world, we can cruise through the day somewhat effortlessly. We can drive to work. Take the elevator. Have meals delivered to the door. But when you’re around people who see the benefit of making the day “harder”, you just go with it. My partner and I walk to the grocery store instead of driving. It gives us a chance to move, stretch our legs, get some fresh air and talk. We choose the stairs because it strengthens our glutes and gets our hearts pumping, even if for only a minute. The active decision is out there – sometimes you just need someone else to point it out to you.
3. He regularly unwinds with exercise. There’s no denying that a beer or a glass of wine at the end of the day is pretty appealing and can take the edge off after a hectic day. Even 30 minutes of mindless screen time can often help one relax. But getting your heart pumping, even for just 30 minutes, is a better way to shake off the day. Tagging along for my partner’s post-work workout helps us de-stress and transition into a more relaxed evening mode. And it also leads to a good night’s sleep!
4. He likes being active – together. I’m not good at all sports. I’m 40. I have arthritic knees and a fear of sport-related injury. Despite this, my awesome partner views me as an ally in his commitment to active living. He seeks out opportunities for us to be active together when he could easily go solo or with some friends. Weekends are spent moving, usually in nature. The focus of every vacation is finding ways to be active. His patience with me not only results in more activity for both of us, but also leads to us trying new things, exploring new places and getting outside our comfort zone.
5. His commitment is lifelong. As we go through the various phases of life, our bodies and abilities change, and our physical activity regime usually must change, too. My partner commits us to remaining active in our “golden years” and beyond playing tennis, golfing or doing some light hiking together. Physical activity isn’t an all or nothing thing – some activity is always better than no activity. So, it’s important to find what works for you no matter your age or ability.
There’s no doubt that social support plays a huge role in physical activity. If you surround yourself with people who are a source of inspiration and value active living, you’re more likely to reap all the benefits of an active life together. Your bond will strengthen. You’ll both feel happier. Your self-confidence will soar. And that is worth sweating for.