This article gives you five reasons why you should peel yourself off your couch, get energized, and choose to live a more active lifestyle right now. The term “couch” is figurative, however, and can represent anything that is holding you back from doing the things you really want to be doing with your time. And to be clear, the phrase “active lifestyle” does indeed mean physically active.
My “couch” is sometimes my actual couch or bed on which I lay until something urgent presents itself and forces me to leave. Oftentimes, my “couch” is my personal comfort zone – a place where my fear of responsibility or fear of discomfort discourages me from doing anything new and different.
What is your “couch”? What is that thing that keeps you exactly where you are even though you would rather be somewhere else? Is it a television show? A comfy pillow? Maybe it is your fear of saying “no” to others? Or your fear of others saying “no” to you?
Whatever it is, I guarantee that it is worth more than the temporary comfort of staying on your “couch”. As you read this article, think about your “couch” and reﬂect on simple ways you can let go of what is holding you back so that you can live a more fulfilled and healthy life.
ONE: you ain’t gettin’ any younger
Do you remember the days when you had boundless energy? You could play outside for hours until your body just collapsed. You could stay up all night talking on the phone, dancing with friends, or barhopping. You could volunteer or take classes in the evenings while working full-time. Everything seemed possible because you were enthusiastic about life and whatever it was you were doing.
These days, you may ﬁnd yourself hunched over your work and responsibilities, like a robot doing what it is programmed to do and nothing more. You may lack excitement and passion. You may even lack interest in caring anymore.
This must stop!
Why are you not taking an active role in your life? The years ceaselessly pass by without regard to your feelings or circumstances. Why do you let yourself become a victim of time and age? Why not embrace it instead and see life as an adventure full of change and growth?
It is time to take charge of your own life and reclaim your youth. Your youthful spirit is never lost unless you purposefully hide it from yourself. But the longer you wait, the harder it is to retrieve.
So get off the couch and go play! Meet up with a friend you have not seen in awhile. Take a weekend trip to a city you have never been. Go a park and throw a Frisbee. Change jobs. Write a book. Plant something. Take a painting class. Do whatever it is that you have always wanted to do because the fact of the matter is, you ain’t gettin’ any younger and time sure ain’t slowin’ down for you.
TWO: you’ll feel better
Choosing to live a sedentary lifestyle creates a self-perpetuating cycle of discomfort and poor health. If you are not active on a daily basis your muscles will quickly weaken, you joints will stiffen, your hormones will get out of whack, your cravings for food will change, your brain will become mush, and your happiness will decrease.
It is just a plain fact – when you move your body regularly, you feel better.
If you are fortunate to have mobility, you need to use it. Think of how you would feel if you lost mobility in your legs? Would you feel robbed of your natural capability? Wouldn’t your life change significantly and perhaps become more complicated?
Why not take advantage of the ability to move your body and get moving? Get off the couch and take a walk. Get out of your work chair and take the stairs to your next meeting. Ride your bike to the grocery store when you only need a few items. Take a swim. Go on a hike. Play with your kids. Take a stroll around the block after dinner. Just get moving!
Your body is designed to move. It has 206 bones and twice as many muscles that work together in order to make you a functional human being. Your body is not designed like a stationary tree, but is built to walk around, climb things, lift stuff, and so on.
You feel better when your body does what it is naturally designed to do. Make the decision to take an active role in your life and move your body so that you feel good everyday.
THREE: you’re missing out on life
Sorry, another cold, hard truth. When you sit on couch every day after work, you are missing out on what is going on in the world outside your home. There is so much energy out there that you can harness and use to do whatever makes you happy. The thing is, you have to go out and get it – it is not knocking your door and peeling your behind off the couch for you.
The world is so big and there are so many people doing interesting things. Don’t you want to know what is going on out there? Aren’t you the least bit curious about things happening in your neighborhood or your city? I am sure there are festivals and parades and block parties and 5k’s and concerts and cook-offs that you can attend to explore new foods and music, or simply indulge in familiar faces, tastes, and sounds.
Is there a place you have never been, but always wanted to go? Why not pack up the kids and take a weekend vacation? Grab some gal pals or plan a guys trip. Trust me, the couch will not miss you.
Have a good idea? Ever dream of creating a business based on that idea? Build something, cook something, sew something, draw something – just do something! Do something you are interested in, even if you are not good at it. Pick up an instrument. Start a band. Make a short film. Research a topic that fires you up. Start a blog. Interview people you admire and write a book on what they have in common. Sign up for a recreational baseball, volleyball, or dodge ball league.
Stop watching other people live their lives while you neglect to live your own. Movies are great, but stop idolizing fictitious characters. Find inspiration in the things around you and in real people’s ambition. Life will go on regardless if you participate. You might as well get your hands dirty and go play!
FOUR: the couch doesn’t love you
Does the couch greet you when you get home? Does it make you soup when you are sick? Does it compliment you on the way you look or on your accomplishments at work? Does it encourage you to achieve your dreams?
No, it does not.
Your couch does not care about you. If you are not on your couch, you will not be doing it a disservice. It will not cry, it will not give you a guilt trip, it will not get you into trouble, it will not even care if you acknowledge that it exists.
Why allow yourself to spend so much time on something that does not add value to your life? This should be an easy one to figure out. If this thing, this “couch”, is holding you back from doing something that will add value to your life – whether it is money, health, friendship, whatever – then you need to remove yourself from that couch immediately and recognize that you are ultimately controlling your life.
Remove your emotional attachment to the couch and reorient your feelings toward people and experiences that will reciprocate your feelings.
FIVE: you are held responsible for yourself
At the end of day, you and you alone are responsible for your own well-being. There is nothing wrong with asking for help and receiving it. There is nothing wrong with giving help, either. However, we easily get too comfortable with the idea that other people are ultimately supposed to take care of us. This idea is, of course, erroneous and must be banned from thought.
Isn’t so easy to blame other people for the negative things that happen in our lives? Isn’t it so easy to blame our knees, our age, the weather, our kids, our job, or fatigue for our lack of ambition to exercise? Isn’t just easier to blame the couch than ourselves?
It is too easy, which is why we keep doing it. But, we need to break ourselves of the thought cycle where we make excuses for our behavior. Instead, we need to own up to our actions (or lack of actions) and accept the reality that we are responsible for our lives.
What is your “couch”? How do you peel yourself off of it every day? Sometimes we do not succeed, but we must always work toward focusing our thoughts on the things that will help us be happy and healthy.