We discussed in “Post Natal Blues and a Lack of Nooky” that everyone feels better when they exercise. Choosing activities that will suit your current lifestyle makes exercising easier!
Even being a little overweight can be damaging to our self-esteem. Not only is exercise imperative for sound mental health, it is vital for general health and well being. Our bodies are ill-equipped to deal with excess weight.
Long term weight issues may create spinal distress, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and even osteoarthritis. It is important to remember that how we live determines how healthy we are, in fact ‘wellness’ is the sum of all our activities and daily rituals.
‘Real health’ includes:
— quality nutrition, exercise and sleep
— minimisation of toxins
— reduction of stress
— a well functioning nervous system
— positive, happy thoughts
How Can We Become Motivated To Exercise ?
The word motivation is latin for movement and can be defined as “an interaction between the drives and desires that fuel behaviour.” Motivation moves you towards a desire and it is characterised by taking action towards that desire over and over again. One does not necessarily need motivation to start an activity but motivation will generally be required if one is to continue with these new behaviours. The funny thing is, even motivation at times will need to be refuelled by new actions and a new vision.
What’s your driving force, what’s your desire?
It is much easier to exercise if you have a clear goal in mind of where you are headed. The clearer the better. Your goal may be that within 6 weeks you’ll regain cardio-fitness so that you can easily run 3 km in 30 minutes or 6 km in 30minutes. Your goal maybe to regain tone and strength, or to decrease your calculated “Body Mass Index” by going to the gym for a one hour workout, 3 times a week. Perhaps you wish to gain 5 kilograms of lightness by …….. (a particular set date) or alternatively your desire maybe to fit into an item in your wardrobe within a certain time frame.
It can be disheartening if you set the bench mark too high initially. Beating yourself to a pulp and trying to attain an athletes physique within 8 weeks is an unrealistic goal for most of us, much less sustainable. It is important to realise that initially your results will be experienced more on a mental level than via a glamorous reflection in the mirror. Meaning you will start to feel fitter and feel better about yourself, before you may glimpse those lean abdominal muscles.
It is important to consider what fitness level you would like in 3, 6 and 12 month periods. How you would like to feel and look?. These long term projections enable you to create a grand vision of what could be feasible for you through setting goals with a realistic time frame. Affirming that by taking one step after another – you will successfully reach your target.
Whatever your goal, write it down – make it achievable and state it with a positive tone, using phrasing that includes “I” and have a completion date in mind. Once this is achieved, set a new goal.
Know where you are starting.
It is much easier to continue exercising if you can acknowledge and appreciate where you have started. Some people do this via measuring their weight and their Body Mass Index. Alternatively you can simply write down how long it currently takes you to run 3km. Write down what amount of exercise you are currently doing. Sometimes being able to look back and see how far you’ve come – helps you to stay motivated. It clarifies that your actions are bringing you closer to your goal. It also helps with monitoring your progress and enables you to celebrate the milestones wholeheartedly!.
Enjoy the ride.
Exercise doesn’t have to be a punishment. Initially it may feel like it is a gruelling ordeal but if you stick with it – exercise does become something you look forward to. For me, running is ‘my time’. It is a period where I don’t have worry about the needs of Simon and the boys. I can connect with God, get physically present, heighten my senses and focus on gratitude. For me most often, running is a recharge.
So whether you are pushing weights, running or riding, focus on enjoying the experience.
Little bits do count!
Don’t “throw the towel in” just because you may not have time to go to the gym 3-4 times a week or run long distances. Fitness can be built through consistently focusing on keeping your body moving, focusing on what “activity” you can do in a day. The key is to think about your week and make a plan.
If you go to the gym once or twice a week consider what other activities you can incorporate into your week. Consider when you’d be able to put the kids in the pram and go for a fast paced walk. Or rather than driving everywhere, plan to walk as much as you possibly can. Buy a yoga DVD (one that will challenge you) and get the kids involved.
Alternatively if you have a half-hour window go for a quick run, it doesn’t take long to run a few kilometres and get your heart racing. If you can’t run, perhaps you could save up for an exercise machine, e-bay is an amazing way to shop!
Choosing activities that will suit your current lifestyle makes exercising easier!
At the moment I haven’t made going to the gym a priority, at the moment my focus is cardiovascular exercise 6 days a week, outside. Right now getting to the gym feels like a logistical nightmare. Interestingly, since focusing more on exercise most weeks I will run 5 times week, another day I’ll walk with the pram and then I’ll generally have one rest day. I also try to incorporate doing 15 minutes of yoga or a DVD a couple of times a week. I find this helps to move my body through any of the muscle stiffness associated with the running.
My next goal is to loose my “bingo flaps” i.e. the wobbly muscles (triceps) on the backs of my arms through regular push-ups and to regain more abdominal tone through some brief daily core-strength exercises. For me being able to exercise in and around the home when I have the time works well, while the gym itself – feels too far away. Choose activities or environments that are right for you.
How Do We Stay Inspired?
1. To stay enthusiastic about your exercise you may need to consider consistently changing your routine and your activities. Cross training is highly beneficial. You could run, ride, go to the gym, swim, do aerobics or circuit, yoga or Pilates. The options are endless.
2. Work with a group. Since joining a running group I am amazed at how far I can run. Never before in my life would I have thought I’d look forward to running long distances. Truly before I started with this mixed group of males and females, the longest distance I would have run would have been 5 km and that was on a good day!. Now by exercising with girlfriends, long runs have turned from being a gruelling psychotic activity into something fun and dare I say, a little addictive. The laughter and sunshine can be very nurturing.
Since joining the running group, even when I run on my own now I seem to run much further than before. I create new tracks and discover new places. Simon calls me “Forrest Gump,” which is pretty amusing for a girl who used to hate to sweat.
3. Get a coach. Personal trainers can offer enormous inspiration. You may like to do this one-on-one, or again in a group atmosphere. There are some terrific programs available. I know of one program in Melbourne which specifically caters for women’s health with a pre and postnatal focus. “Plus-one-Mums” www.plus-one-mums.com are mums who are personal trainers who have created a variety of classes, programs and kits for Mums. Educating women how to gain fitness and strengthen their bodies. These types of programs help support mothers by making exercise both social and achievable, some of their programs even incorporate young children into the routine.
So for added motivation source a quality personal trainer either individually or within a group atmosphere.
4. When you are running or walking take an Ipod and listen to music or professional speakers who motivate you.
5. In your down time read books and listen to CD’s that will help keep you motivated to live life to the full!.