Exhausting as it sounds, a rugged workout can be exhilarating. Working up a lather, shaking out the kinks, and getting out of breath can be as addicting as narcotics. Fitness should not be a deadly serious matter—it should be a kick!
There is one sound reason a man exercises—for fun.
There are dividends from fitness, to be sure. These benefits are “extras,” however. These are not reasons why people keep fit. These are bonuses for people who exercise for fun and fitness.
Tension is the businessman’s heaviest burden. Deadlines, promotion, competition, improvement, insecurity, and worry are part of our society. No wonder the executive has difficulty relaxing. Tight nerves and tense muscles are the usual rather than the exception. Fitness is one way out. No one can relax by being ordered to do so. Keyed-up nerves and muscles do not respond to talk. Nerves and muscles can be re-educated. Relaxing habits can be substituted for bad habits.
How To Relax
The way to relax is to non relax. Translated, this means: exercise vigorously. Having non relaxed energetically for thirty minutes, no one needs to be told to relax. He has no choice —he is exhausted—he has to relax. Ask anyone what is the best part of his workout. It is taking a shower afterward— naturally!
A workout inescapably prepares one for relaxation. During a workout it is impossible to be concerned about anything other than the task at hand. One’s every thought and effort is concentrated on the workout. Try preparing a report to the boss while watching your tennis adversary’s cannonball serve go streaking past. Try adding up all your debts while giving the bowling ball a little body English toward a remote tenpin. Try thinking about anything while exercising except exercising. It cannot be done! Your mind is off your problems—and that is good.
After the workout, with physically tired muscles, with the glow of physical satisfaction, and with the refreshing relief of a warm shower, relaxation is inevitable. And in a few weeks nerves and muscles once again have learned the rewarding art of relaxation.
The word “athlete” will be used now and then and should not scare you. By definition, an athlete is one “trained in acts of physical exercise.” The dictionary does not specify sex, age limit, type of physical activity, or competitive ability as requisites for the definition of “athlete.” Many of my athletic patients are of both sexes, of all ages, and never compete. But they certainly are athletes. Most of my athletic patients would, to be sure, deny they are athletes—but they are. Somehow they feel they do not deserve this approbation —but they do.
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