I learned something valuable this past Saturday. It’s about simplifying exercise, and more importantly, about simplifying the way I talk about it. This past Saturday, I was a speaker, and had a display booth at a Health Fair in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. There were 40 exhibitors. It was a productive event and well attended.
I was given forty-five minutes to speak. I did the talk and it was well received, but I didn’t get the message out that I really wanted to get out. I didn’t have enough time to say everything I wanted to say. It was as if I wanted to give an entire full day workshop in forty five minutes because I had a perfect audience of people who really wanted to hear what I had to say. I got it all in but it was too much information packed into too short a period for people to absorb. I gave out a lot of quick information but didn’t say much. I’ve been a public speaker much of my adult life and I should have known better.
Later in the day, I attended a presentation given by a personal trainer named Nathalie, who, in my opinion, is one of the most competent trainers in the business, not just for her technical ability, but it the way she communicates with clients and classes. Her message was about How to Simplify Exercise. And that’s precisely what she did. She wanted to demonstrate that exercise can be enjoyable, something that a person might just look forward to doingrather than a “chore”. She had everyone in the room, mostly older adults,moving their bodies in a way that energized them on the spot, and filled them with a burst of endorphins (those natural “feel good” chemicals produced by your body instead of a lab) and made those in the audience, at least for the moment, actually feel good about exercise as well as just plain feeling good. Even those in the room with “built-in aches and pains” were able to do the simple group of movements she taught. They enjoyed it, and some went home feeling good enough about the way they felt after the short session, that they might just start fitting some of those movements into their daily routine. Everyone enjoyed her message and everyone benefited. The point was that she was able to take what most trainers make complicated and made it simple and easy to understand so that her audience actually wanted to act on her message.
Nathalie’s talk made me realize how easy it is for me to complicate something that doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective. Nathalie and I both preach the same message, but she did it in a way that made me realize just how complicated and unnecessary many of the things I say are. After all, the goal of what I am doing is to make older people Come Alive with Vitality and Personal Energy. Older adults want to feel alive, look alive and keep living that way for a lot longer than they thought they could . . . right up until they die. They want to avoid long, lingering illness, be strong enough to prevent falling, or at least to catch themselves if they do. They want to be able to get down on the floor and play up close with their young grandkids. . . and be able to get back up again. Or get in and out of a car without a lot of agony and effort. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Moving your body should be simple and easy. Older adults understand that moving their bodies can make them feel good both in the moment and over time. But they feel it takes up too much time and effort to get any real benefit. Natalie’s talk may have convinced those who heard her to think otherwise.
Thank you Nathalie for getting some of my thinking back on track and making me realize how much I have complicated the teaching process.
By the way, Nathalie has written a great book of Daily Wisdom. Her book, Daily Enlightenments, 365 Days of Spiritual Reflection, by Nathalie W. Herrman and can be viewed and purchased at http://tinyurl.com/kbkjdtz . Her website filled with daily motivational messages is http://enlightenmentdaily.blogspot.com. My wife and I both highly recommend the book. And to comply with the new disclosure rules, I get no compensation if you buy the book. I just like it.
Thank you for reading.