Do you know the most cost-effective and beneficial way to improve your overall wellbeing?
If you guessed exercise, you’re right. 🏋️🧘⛹️♀️
In fact, aerobic exercise, like dancing, walking, and running has shown to reduce anxiety and depression.
I heard this in a yoga class, and it stuck with me ever since.
The hardest part is getting to the mat (or outside, to the bike, to the class, etc).
And as a spin instructor, I know it to be true. Getting started is the hardest part.
How To Motivate Yourself
Fitspo is cool and all but the motivation to get started and stay committed often comes from within, which is known as intrinsic motivation. This is the motivation to engage in a behavior because you find it rewarding vs. doing it for an external reward (known as extrinsic motivation). Both have benefits but if you don’t find the movement enjoyable you either won’t do it, or you won’t get the full benefits you would get from doing something you like.
When you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re present in the moment which brings an element of mindfulness to your day. Research suggests that incorporating mindfulness into physical exercise increases the likelihood you’ll adhere to your workout routine. And it also has positive psychological and physiological benefits.
Find The Workout That Works For You
One of the most important things you can do to take care of yourself is to find a form of movement you delight in.
Movement, to the best of your ability, improves your mood, helps you sleep better, brings you into connection with yourself and so much more. It may take a few tries to find what you like with but that is part of the fun. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Dance: If you have 5 mins turn up the volume on your favorite song and get dancing. YouTube is an excellent resource to help you move your body.
- Yoga: and stretch your body to the best of your ability. I love this yoga video because it feels good to stretch, and shows that movement doesn't need to be time-consuming or intimidating.
- Take a walk: I nature if you can. If you live in the city, head to a park or a street with trees, or even a farmer’s market where you can walk around and enjoy the sight and scents of the flowers, fresh veggies, and fruit. For more on the benefits of convening with nature, check out our blog on how to find your inner calm.
- Strength Train: Grab a friend, some weights, bands, or full water bottles (for weight plus post-workout hydration), and set up an outdoor workout. Simple movements like weighted squats and lunges, triceps dips on a bench, push-ups, planks, and jumping jacks will get your body moving and get your heart rate up.
- Classes: Take an online or in-person class like spin, HIIT, or pilates.
Go easy on yourself, and pick something you WANT to do. Not something you think you SHOULD do.
We Challenge You!
This week we challenge you to pick movements that you're committing to this week. It can be anything from a walk, a stretch, to 5 min dance party, to a run, or a spin class, etc. Whatever you decide, do some form of movement that you consciously decide to do, every day.
Each day, after you have moved your body, notice how you feel. And if want to take it to the next level, write that down in your journal or notes on your phone.
If at any point you feel yourself shaming or guilting yourself into movement, or otherwise speaking ill to yourself here's what to do.
Notice it, name it, stop the behavior, and redirect your thoughts. You're awesome and don't deserve that. Here's an example:
The thought: "Ugh I didn't take a walk today, which was my plan for this week. I’m the worst.’
Noticing: Wow, I'm feeling some type of way about not going for a walk. Why didn't I do that today?
Name it: I feel ____ (insert emotion here)
Stop it: "I’m not going to talk like that about moving my body anymore. I planned to go for a walk, but it didn't happen. I'll try again tomorrow."
Replace it: Pick a phrase or word or something to say instead. Keep it simple and consistent. Something like "I'm awesome".
Noticing and naming are super important when changing a pattern, habit, or behavior.
As Jay Z says "you can't heal what you don't reveal."
Feelings, emotions, and beliefs need to be witnessed in order for us to process them. Even if we don't realize it, unwitnessed feelings and emotions sit in our bodies. We need to move them like we need to move our bodies.
Movement is key to aging well and feeling good. It also can be an outlet for feelings of frustration or anger and can get your creative juices flowing. Most importantly, it gets you into the moment and gives you time to connect with your body, mind, and spirit.
Up for the challenge?
Share your commitment to movement this week with us using the hashtag #YourInnerCalm
Author: Bridgette Clare