What drives us to stay motivated and to keep moving our bodies?
A lot of people ask me how I stay motivated and want to keep moving my body day in and day out? I tell them that enjoyable body movement has been a part of my life for a long time and I don’t ever want to stop because I changed the way I thought about “exercise.”
You can make enjoyable body movement a long-term part of your life, too, keeping the motivation always, if you start by rethinking the whole game.
This week, I am going to give you my three secret ingredients to making - and even wanting - fitness as a part of your life.
Step 1: Rethinking Fitness
The first step is a changed attitude: rethink what fitness really is.
Can you recall how I mentioned that enarji (My Health Coaching Business) no longer uses the word “exercise” in its vocabulary? That’s because over time so many of us have found exercise to be an undesirable form of punishment to our bodies.
Remove the word “exercise” from your vocabulary, too. Instead, when you move your body, call it “enjoyable body movement,” because that is what you will be doing from this day forward: only moving your body for enjoyment.
Step 2: New Ideas
The second step is forming new ideas about what constitutes body movement. Consider what body movements you can do that will feel good, be enjoyable, and are in the realm of your comfort zone?
Don’t think that you have to run a marathon, swim the Channel, or win a sporting medal for fitness. Any type of body movement will do! You can do anything you like that involves moving your body: skipping, walking, standing on your head, bending, stretching, bouncing, rolling. I could go on for ages.
Step 3: The Removal of Punishment
The third step is, in part, the reverse of a step: remove all elements of punishment. That is, don’t move until it really hurts. In fact, stop as soon as it becomes uncomfortable! We did call it enjoyable body movement, right? Well then move your body until the moment you feel uncomfortable - then stop!
By stopping when we’re not enjoying it anymore, we will want to keep enjoyable body movement as a part of our lives forever!
And here’s how you do it. On the first day you start moving your body for enjoyment, do so until you become slightly uncomfortable. It could be a minute, 5 mins, 10 mins or ½ an hour. Whatever it is, only do your fitness activity until you start feeling a little uncomfortable. It can be valuable to time this.
The next day do a little bit more than the day before. You may only do 1 minute longer compared to the day before, but this is ok, because it is still better than the day before. And if you need a few days doing the same amount, that’s fine. But remember that you will be able to move more and more comfortably for longer periods of time, and you should take advantage of that. Continue this until you get to a point at which you can only allow this amount of time in your day for fitness activities.
In the beginning, be sure to only do your fitness activities 3 days per week and rest 4 days per week. Eventually, if you like, you can build up to 4-5 activity days per week while resting 2 days per week.
Some of you may already know this one, but for the ones that don’t, did you know that your body is still working on your rest days? How great is that! Your body needs recovery time so you will have peak performance on your activity days, yet funny enough, it is still working in recovery (but differently from your fitness activity days).