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The Exercise Dog Days of summer have their redeeming features.

I'll have to admit that exercise sometimes slips out of the top ten on my To Do list.

In the San Joaquin Valley of California where we live the heat climbs up into the 90's and 100's during June, July and August.

There is an upside to this misery however. It gives us a perfect excuse to avoid exercising.

For centuries this season of clammy, oppressive summer weather has been known as “Dog Days”. Since my dog hates this kind weather as much as I do I never could figure out why they named it “dog days”.

It seems that this term was coined  in ancient times when people watching the stars would make out different images, including dogs.

During late July  the “dog star” is in conjunction with the sun and the scholars believed that this was the cause for the extremely unbearable weather during this time of year.

The official period of Dog Days runs from July 3 to August 11.  It goes without saying that no one should start an exercise program during dog days. As a matter of fact it should be against the law.

It’s always a good idea to keep a good stock of excuses on hand just in case someone mentions that you need more exercise. Probably the one that works best for me is “I’m just too busy”.

It really makes little difference that within a few short steps of my office is one of the finest selections of exercise equipment in the valley. Or that it takes only 12 minutes to get a complete cardio workout

If you are too busy, you are too busy.

And busyness is a trait to be admired, right? After all, the bible gives us the warning to “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazy fellow. Learn from their ways and be wise.” What could be busier than an ant?  Subject closed.

A word of caution on how you phrase your excuses. Don’t fall into the trap of saying, “I don’t have time.” This opens the door to the rebuttal that everyone has the same amount of time and that maybe you should take a look at your priorities.

One of the best reasons to avoid exercise is that it just isn’t natural. If exercise is really as good for us as it’s cracked up to be how come we don’t crave it like we do chocolate?

If God wanted us to exercise He would have designed us with an exercise gene. Eve offered Adam an apple. She didn’t say, “Let’s run around the garden.” Yes, I know that Jesus walked everywhere he went, but what other mode of transportation was there in those days?

Owning a dog opens up a wealth of opportunities for not getting involved in exercise. Taking your dog for a walk is a good ploy to get people thinking that you are a dedicated to heart exercise…especially if it’s a small dog that likes to do a lot of stopping and sniffing like my schnauzer, Rocko.

Rocko can spend as much time investigating a new smell as a forensic team at a crime scene. Sometimes he gets in a hurry if he sees an attractive female canine but he is usually content to saunter at my leisurely pace.

Since Dog Days won't last forever it’s not too soon to be thinking about what excuse will work best when the weather changes. Here’s one that works every time.

Talk a lot about your plans to begin exercising. As I was chatting with a couple of friends this week one of them commented that they talk about getting started every single day...and they’ve been doing this for months. I was envious of their strategy. That’s taking procrastination to a whole new level.

If all else fails tell people that the dog ate your workout shoes.

Gene

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