Why don’t people exercise? By now we all know it’s good for us–our bodies and our minds. Yet 80% of Americans, including Baby Boomers and seniors, don’t meet our physical activity recommendations.
How then, do you motivate yourself, or your loved ones, to move? Believe me, we personal trainers have been wrestling with that question for years!
One answer: concentrate on the feeling! How do you feel during and after exercise? What’s the immediate reward, not the longterm health benefits? Once you identify these positive emotions, you have a better chance of continuing with the activity.
Here are a few tips to get you in touch with your exercise ecstasy:
- Let’s start with stretching. Many of my clients love this activity–they tell me “it just feels good!” Slowly easing into a stretch while breathing deeply, especially after exercise, creates a feeling of relaxation and eases tension. Many times I hear my clients say, “I needed that!” when they stretch after a tough day.
- I recently asked participants in one of my exercise classes to come up with some words describing how the activities made them feel. One of the best descriptors I heard was “energized.” It may sound counterintuitive–to feel more lively after exercising–but it’s common to have more get-up-and-go following physical activity. I think we can all agree: anything that gives us more energy as we age is definitely a plus!
- Other words I hear often include “confident” or “accomplished.” Again, this is especially important for older adults who can’t visualize themselves lifting weights or riding a bicycle. Once they see they can do these activities successfully, they’re more likely to try again.
- Find an activity that brings you sheer joy! In the past, for me, this was bicycle riding. I love the feel of the wind through my air, the sun on my face, the green smells you miss while sitting in a car. More recently, it’s been silly dancing to fun songs with my grandkids or while doing chores. Music that moves me just brings a smile to my face. Which activity lights up your day?
- Let’s face it: we’re social animals. While some people enjoy solitary activities, many love exercising with others to share successes and create a sense of community. So find a senior exercise class at your local YMCA, learn ballroom dancing or pick up a class schedule at your local junior college. Opportunities abound to be part of a “team” that warms your heart!
So instead of forcing yourself to head out on that morning walk because it’ll add years to your life, focus on more immediate feelings and identify the emotions related to physical activity that bring you joy. Then you’ll be more likely to continue exercising, and the healthful benefits (of which there are dozens) will follow!
If you need help finding your joy in movement, give me a call!
We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.