It’s probably not news to you that movement is an important aspect of maintaining your health and well-being. You have probably seen thousands of advertisements for workouts, the perfect fitness gear, supplements/drinks/foods that are “guaranteed” to help us slim down and tone up.
The truth: Those ads are selling you the idea that movement is all about physical results, and that if you buy all that stuff, the physical results will happen.
But I have a secret to share with you: Sustainable motivation for movement is what will really get you the results you are looking for … and it’s free.
What is “sustainable motivation for movement?” It's how movement makes you feel on the inside. I know what you’re thinking: exercise hurts, it is hard, it makes me want to yell or cry or both — trust me, and keep reading.
The Secret to Finding What Works for You
When you move (all movement, not just high-intensity activities like running and lifting heavy things) the amount of endorphins released in your body increases. Endorphins are neurotransmitters in our brain that make us feel good. When we have endorphins circulating in our body, we feel all the good stuff — like happiness and joy — and less of the bad stuff — like pain and sadness. Think about the last time you felt a rush of happiness and joy. Were you moving your body? Were you walking, laughing, or dancing? Were you jumping the waves at the beach or playing on a playground with your family? Were you hiking with your dog? It is likely you were moving your body in some way.
I want you to consider the movement that brings you the most joy. It might not be spending 30 minutes on an elliptical at the gym. It might be skateboarding in your neighborhood. Once you find those activities that give you that endorphin rush, do those more, like once a day. Let go of the feeling that exercise has to be a certain activity or movement for it to count. Let go of the feeling that you cannot be physically active or that physical activity hurts. Focus first on how a movement makes you feel: If it is good, do it; if it is bad, lose it.
What is going to happen, you might ask?
Likely you will be more active, you will be happier, and you will start to see your physical body change. This all boils down to listening to your body, trusting your body and mind to rise to the occasion and to lead you in the right direction.
How to Keep Moving
Here are some tips to create and stick to your movement routine:
- Try taking a buddy with you like a pet, a family member, or someone who is willing to move with you.
- Try doing something outside as safely as you can, as being in nature can enhance your experience.
- Add some upbeat music; use a service like Spotify to get suggested playlists.
- Try some new moves or re-visit movements you might have tried in the past – yoga may have been boring before, but it might be just what your body needs now – give it a try. The fitness industry is constantly expanding and adapting to trends, take advantage of free, virtual classes or personal training to get you moving in new, fun ways.
- Make a schedule; put it on your calendar, set reminders, get it done early it will set the tone for your day.
- Gear helps and it does not have to be fancy or expensive. The right gear that protects your body will enhance your experience and make it more likely you will do it again.
Whatever you try, focus first, on how it is making you feel on the inside, not just during the activity but also after. Remember: If it is good, do it again, if it is bad, lose it and try something else. Believe in your body and mind, believe that movement will increase those feel-good endorphins. Get moving and get happy.