Let the Olympics inspire your inner champion

Millions of people watched the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games and the athletes were truly inspiring.
Inspiring for what they were able to accomplish, and also stirring for lots and lots of people to get up off their couches and put their bodies in motion as well.
It’s impossible to calculate exactly how much physical activity the Winter Olympics jump-started across the U.S., but there surely is a big trickle-down effect.
As I drove by a small ski resort where I live two weeks ago, the parking lot was as full as I’ve ever seen it.
I wished I didn’t have to go to work and could throw on a pair of skis, too – and part of that was thinking about how great it had been to watch the Olympics. I’m sure that helped attract a lot of extra skiers this winter.
Health clubs also report a rise in business, as do many fitness equipment stores during Olympic years, whether it’s the summer or winter games.
People see greatness and then start thinking about themselves and wanting to improve their lots in life as well.
The Olympics show what the results of hard work can be and the behind-the-scenes stories about what the athletes have gone through only add to the impression they leave.
If they’ve persevered despite physical and emotional obstacles, so can viewers, at home – and let’s not forget about newspaper readers, too. Almost certainly not to the degree of becoming an Olympian, but most people should be able to improve their own fitness levels with some hard work and better discipline.

To get started toward being a gold-medal winner in your own right, take the time to evaluate where you’re at and where you want to get to. A lot of people join a gym, by equipment or take exercises classes, but are more or less going through the motions without thinking about the big picture.
When it comes to fitness, it’s OK to think big. Make an honest evaluation
of yourself. Set short and long-term goals. Set numerous goals, some that
you know will be attainable, others that will take a lot of work and even
some that are so lofty you’re not sure if you can meet them.
If you don’t set the bar high, though, you’ll never know what you’re capable of. And you know what, if you set some extremely high goals, even if you don’t reach them you’ll be way, way better off for trying.
And you’ll have captured at least a little bit of the Olympic spirit yourself.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com