The 3 E’s of Healthy Lifestyles
We want everyone young and older adult alike to succeed at creating a healthy lifestyle. We want to see the streets and parks packed with older adults exercising and enjoying physical activity. In making fitness a part of a healthy lifestyle our fitness coaches use the rule of the 3 E’s: Enjoyment, Engagement, and Effort.
I’ve previously extolled the virtues of finding something you enjoy as a way to make fitness a lifestyle. This is SO crucial. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t stick with it. However, there is more to the picture than just enjoying a sport or activity.
Just finding something you enjoy doing will not help you reach your goals in and of itself. Nor does it mean that this key to success with be a walk in the park, figuratively speaking perhaps. You need the other 2 E’s.
Finding something you like is only a piece of the pie. Engagement means actually doing it. I may LOVE surfing, but if I live in a landlocked area and never spend time in the swells it won’t amount to much. Many may say this goes without saying, but I’m saying it because it needs to be said.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary define engagement as: “a pledge, emotional involvement or commitment, or the state of being in gear”.
Once you’ve found your enjoyable activity, have you pledged your time, energy, and yes, money at it?
Are you emotionally involved or committed?
There are lots of ways you can increase your engagement from forums and blogs, to joining community groups that participate in your activity of choice. A great way to increase your engagement is to make a goal around your new fitness activity.
The third E is Effort, not ‘Ease’. Things aren’t over once you’ve found something enjoyable and have begun to be engaged. Your lifestyle doesn’t just happen like that. You don’t magically age gracefully as a model of senior fitness.
Fitness-no matter the activity-is inherently hard and challenging. Just because you enjoy doing something doesn’t mean you don’t have to push yourself in doing that thing. For instance, I enjoy cycling. I also have to push myself to do better, to go faster, to pedal harder. There are times when cycling is really hard work, but I do it and can push myself harder because it’s more enjoyable to me than other things.
The same goes if your activity requires a lot of skill development upfront. You may not be any good when you start. That’s ok! Most of us aren’t good at our new endeavors. To keep enjoying your activity, you’ve got to get better at it-hence the effort or work.
There is a famous saying that goes something like, “If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll never work a day in your life”. I don’t agree with that. I do plenty of things that I enjoy doing but still require a great deal of effort. The rewards are worth the effort, and the thing engaged in is palatable. Remember effort is still required, and many times a lot of it. Don’t kid yourself with thinking that it’s all smooth sailing.
So find something enjoy, engage in it often, and put in the effort and then reap the rewards.