It is well-known that exercise is one of the best ways to stay healthy and to maintain a healthy body weight. So, why is it so difficult to stay active when we know how good it is for us? Perhaps we need to change how we feel about physical activity. Perhaps we have been viewing exercise all wrong.
Negative feelings around exercise can start at an early age. There are times when exercise is used as punishment. For example, in gym class or practice, if you are late or not paying attention, the coach might send you off to do sprints. Can you think of a time in your life when you needed to “drop down and give me 20” as a punishment for something you did? As we age, exercise often becomes a dreaded item on our to-do list. We’ll say things like, “Starting tomorrow I am going to start working out,” but when tomorrow comes, so does another excuse not to start. In our overworked, overscheduled lives, it can be a real challenge to prioritize physical activity.
If you struggle with getting daily physical activity, then you may be in need of a mindset change. A good place to start is by viewing your body as an amazing machine. Have gratitude for your body’s ability to take you through life and endure everything that you throw at it.
Here is one of my favorite quotes: “Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment of for what you ate.” This quote says so much about how we view exercise. My challenge to you is to shift your mindset from punishment to celebration.
Every time you are putting your shoes on to hit the gym think about all the ways your body works for you. We often take it for granted, but if we could be thankful for all the things the body does – not only running and jumping, but even breathing and healing – the gratitude would be never-ending. So after each workout, take the time to thank your body for being there for you. It is doing its best to keep you alive, healthy and vibrant. I could give you tips like take the stairs, park farther away, or exercise in ten-minute intervals throughout the day – all good advice, but if you have negative thoughts about exercise, you probably will find it hard to stick with it long-term. Exercise is actually better for you when you enjoy it!
Lyndsey Medina is a personal trainer at Progressive Health Center. Contact her for a private session and learn how you can start changing your mindset today!