In Move Your Body, Tone Your Mood, sports psychologist Kate Hays writes about how exercise can be your therapy.
Healthy-for-you movement definitely changes your mood. I exercise firstly for a clear mind, second for strong bones and longevity, and lastly because it is energizing – and with my busy life I’m always looking for ways to find energy.
Yet while we all know the benefits of physical activity, there are several things that can block motivation to keep moving. Can you relate to any of these?
- Rest leads to inertia – As Newton’s first law of motion attests, a body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion. So whether I do 30 minutes with my personal trainer, a one-hour yoga class, or a 10 minute walk around the block, what’s most important is that I do something. Once I’m up and moving I’m pretty good at staying that way.
- Boredom – When I’m bored I want to stop. By varying my movement routine with cross-training, I hold my own interest. Working with a personal trainer is a big part of keeping this variety. My health is a major priority and worth the investment. Even if I’m doing the same type of movement like walking, I plan scenic locations so I have different things to look at.
- Wrong fit – There are plenty of choices out there, and while variety is important to me I also look for classes and teachers that are aligned with my own beliefs. For example, some teachers preach “no pain, no gain,” but my philosophy is “No pain. No pain!”
- Mother Nature – I love her, but weather can certainly come into play when it comes to movement activities. High temperatures, cold, rain or other unpredictable weather events can all put a damper on outdoor plans.
For some, the motivation to move is not the problem, it’s actually over-exercising. Over-exercise can be harmful to the body, causing stress fractures or other injuries. Your treatment team is there to help you determine if you’re doing too much or not enough.
Healthy movement is all about finding balance and your own personal place on the continuum.
In a follow-up post, we’ll go through a long list of motivational tools for sticking with a healthy movement routine.