Why do we have the wrong mindset about exercise? "People will do almost anything to get out of exercising. I have been most unsuccessful in encouraging people to run," explains surgeon Jean Rene Dupont.
He had arranged for four women and 16 men to join a running programme and they either ran or worked out together for mutual encouragement and camaraderie. Soon they were able to cover two miles without stopping. "These runners were as highly motivated as any group could be," he said.
Nobody, including Dupont understood what happened next. One by one they started to drop out. Each had a great excuse. Then bad weather came and Dupont found himself running alone. He was stunned by what people would do and the excuses they made to get out of exercising.
So what stops us taking exercise? Mostly it's the stories we tell ourselves, and above all the words we use to make excuses. However, the right words with the right intention can weave magical changes into our lives.
We use words to wound (cyberbullying); hurt; heal; pray; express gratitude; praise; encourage; describe; and question. The real purpose of words is to create bliss in the listener.
It is not the words themselves that create consciousness, or heal the body or change reality. It's the meaning behind the words that has the real power. Physicists tell us that the world is made up of energy forms that vibrate at different frequencies, with matter being the densest frequency.
Positive thoughts and words vibrate at a high frequency and magnetically attract matter of the same vibrational density. They call it a 'vibrational match'. The same is true for low-frequency negative thoughts and words. What you give out, you get back. What goes around, comes around.
The latest neurological research reveals that by choosing our words and thoughts with care and concentrating on them for 10 to 20 minutes a day we can actually change the functioning in key areas of our brain by as much as a quarter.
For example, simply by focusing on words such as 'peace' or 'joy' or 'fun' you will begin to feel peaceful, joyful and happier as the emotional centres of your brain switch their neurocortical pathways.
In their ground-breaking book, Words Can Change Your Brain, Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman outline how once your brain is stimulated by a positive word or thought it slows down its ability to generate messages of anxiety, irritability or depression. You start a positive-reinforcing pattern.
They also show how words, positive or negative, can alter the expression of genes throughout the body, turning them on and off and thereby changing the way we biologically grow.
You can change your brain positively. One study found that even looking at a list of positive words for just a few seconds improves the mood of a depressed person. The bad news is when people looked at a list of negative words they immediately felt worse.
Dupont expressed his frustration on this topic 37 years ago. The good news is we now know that we can use our thoughts, words and inner stories to make things happen and take exercise rather than make excuses. When you change your words, you change your world.
Declan Coyle is a director of Andec Communications. His motivational techniques have been used by several All-Ireland-winning teams. firstname.lastname@example.org