Why do some people stick with an exercise program, while you might not? You might be trying as hard as you can to work towards a goal, but find yourself struggling to stay motivated with each passing day.
Scientists have been trying to answer this question for years. Some studies show that genetics and personality might play a role, while there are the obvious daily obstacles many of us have to overcome—work, family, and finding the time. But what makes some people, with similar obstacles, more likely to stick with exercise? Most people have to work and raise a family, right?
New Study: Mindfulness Key to Motivation When Exercising
New research is indicating that an individual’s mental state during exercise makes a big difference. The term being used to describe this is “mindfulness.” It means having a deliberate awareness of what’s happening in the present moment. This distinction shows that it might not impact your view of exercise, but rather your satisfaction levels during the performance of exercise. So it might not come down to your interest in exercise, but rather your headspace during exercise.
I’ve written before about how your success in an exercise program comes down to finding something you enjoy, and I’ll continue to stand by that. But based on this new study, I’d like to recommend taking it one step further. If you’re looking to get more out of your exercise, try immersing yourself in the movements as they are happening. So if you’re going out for a walk, try and forget about everything else that’s going on and focus solely on your environment in that present moment. Appreciate the scenery around you and what’s happening, or if it’s cold and ugly outside, focus on the feeling that the exercise is providing. Focus on the blood moving through your body, the muscles contracting, your breath, and the internal process of the exercise.
Pacing Important to Successful Exercise Program
As a side note, I’d like to congratulate everyone who’s been taking the steps to improve their health this year with exercise. I’d also like to remind you of the importance of pacing. Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard about a number of injuries experienced by people I know as they’ve tried to increase their activity over the past couple of months.
Programming is very important if you’re new to exercise, and easing into activity is the best way to prepare your body for a change in lifestyle. Coming out of the gate hard and riding your adrenaline might feel sustainable, but your body won’t be able to keep up with such a drastic change.
In the past few weeks, I’ve seen a number of people with stress fractures, joint soreness, and muscle pulls, as they’ve taken on more activity than they are ready for—and I’m not talking about people doing grueling, dangerous activity; I’m talking about people who’ve adopted moderate routines like recreational jogging, cycling, and other low-intensity forms of activity. So please, remember to ease into your program and increase intensity every few weeks. Your body needs time to adapt!
Also Read :
- Should You Meditate Your Way to Better Health?
- Mind Over Matter: The Real Reason You’re Not Losing Weight
- “Living in the Moment” Essential to Your Health
- Is It Healthy to Exercise When You’re Sick?
Source for Today’s Article:
Tsafou, K.E., et al., “Mindfulness and satisfaction in physical activity: A cross-sectional study in the Dutch population,” Journal of Health Psychology 2015; pii: 1359105314567207.