If you are like most of us, you know exercise is something that is really good for you. So you do it reluctantly because you have to if you ever hope to lose that extra weight.
An article in the New York Times says that if you simply re-frame how you see exercise, you can be more successful with your daily routine, and keep that routine for years.
In the article, Dr. Michelle Segar, a psychologist who wrote No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness, and who directs the Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center at the University of Michigan, urges people to see exercise as more open-ended and fun.
Dr. Segar suggests focusing on the idea that “everything counts” — taking the stairs instead of the elevator, weeding the garden, dancing, even walking to the water cooler.
“We should count any and every opportunity to move that exists in the space of our lives as valid movement worth doing,” she wrote. She advocates adopting a food marketer’s approach to workouts: Enjoy ‘snacks’ of exercise that can entice gradual increases in how much is ‘consumed.’” And like the calories in food snacks, it all adds up.
Dr. Segar likens the choices to Baskin-Robbins’s 31 flavors: “There are so many options — ‘What do I feel like doing today?’ — then picking the ‘flavor’ of physical activity that feels right for that day and moment.” The neuroscience of reward has shown that this approach can foster and reinforce positive feelings about being active.
The positives of exercise.
Interestingly enough, studies have shown that when people view exercise as simply something they have to do to maintain their weight and heath — instead of something that enhances their life — they’re less likely to stick to it.
Instead of forcing yourself to do the same thing at the gym three to five days a week, try to see the immediate benefits of physical activity — more energy, a better mood, decreased stress — as the reasons why you should take a long walk after work or a stretching class early in the morning.
When you focus on the positives of exercise, rather than the drudgery of it, you’re much more likely to be motivated to get out the door!
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