Working out can be laborious, exhausting, and downright boring at times. There is no one singular trick that enhances your enjoyment of exercise but the first step is to figure out the “Why.”
Why do you work out? What do you hope to accomplish? Some people exercise to stay in shape, get in shape, balance out their eating and drinking, release endorphins, occupy time, and/or clear their minds. Whatever your reason, figure out all the “whys” you have.
The next step is to identify what motivates you. The “why” can be your motivation, but for this purpose we are speaking to external things like music, scenery, or other people. Think about your ideal environment for exercise – what does it look, sound, and feel like?
The third and final step is to EMBRACE THE CHALLENGE! When you approach anything in life with a negative perspective you will not enjoy it, so be positive. Remind yourself of the why and make use of your external motivating factors as much as possible.
To provide an example; I do not like to run. I have sore joints in my hips, knees, and ankles, along with plantar fasciitis in my feet. That right there is more than enough reason not to run. However, as someone with asthma, I need to make sure my cardiovascular health is at its best. That is my “why” for running.
So, I went out and bought quality running shoes to help ease the soreness of my lower extremities. The next step was to help generate some external motivation, so I developed a running group within my fitness center. That group of people kept me company during our runs and held me accountable on the days I didn’t feel like running. I also figured out what music made me the happiest during my runs (90’s R&B).
If you are having a sluggish day or don’t feel the energy to get going, try the “Mindful Mile.” This is when you take the time to reflect on what you are grateful for. Start your exercise routine and begin thinking about why you’re moving, who you’re doing it for, what you’re grateful for, reflect on your progress, the highlight of your day/week or even say some daily affirmations. By the time you know it, you’ll have already hit mile 1 and will be warmed-up and in a groove to keep on going!
Think in measurements of “Time” instead of “Distance.” Look at your run/walk/bike in minutes rather than miles. “I am going for a 10 minute walk,” “I’m going for a 20 minute jog,” “I am going for a 30 minute bike ride.” Sometimes I get motivated if I just commit to a small amount of time.
Bonus tip: I found it best to run hands free by using a centered fanny pack or an evenly balanced hydration pack when hitting the pavement. I used to run with my phone or water bottle in my right hand. Something that is so light, I never thought anything of it. After continually holding something in my right hand for miles at a time, my left Achilles started to inflame, and I had to take off running for almost a month. My chiropractor was able to adjust me and found that holding/clenching onto something with my right hand made my left hip sit higher than my right hip. This imbalance stemmed down to my Achilles when I ran long distance and caused some irritation. This was only a PERSONAL experience but, I found that it is best to keep your body nice and balanced when exercising!
Try these tips for yourself and notice how much easier it is to stick to your exercise plan!
By Ty Tomlinson, HealthEase Fitness Professional