Get Thee a Movin’!

Get Thee a Movin’!

Photo credit: Dollar photo club

Photo credit: Dollar photo club

By Erica Rivers, MA, LPC, CPT, MBA

In the ever-growing field of physical fitness, we are aware of a plethora of options for exercise.  We can Zumba, go hard-core with CrossFit, run a 5k for a cause near and dear to our hearts, or hire a trainer to hold us accountable to crawling to the gym before the rooster crows.  For many an American consumer, the variety has been tried and some trends have stuck and some have faded into a somewhat sheepish history of “yep, tried that one.”  (Think ‘80’s aerobic videos or the thigh buster.)   Regardless the goofy nature of some, at least they got us moving!

Staying motivated to exercise is a chore for a good portion of the population.  Adherence to a regular exercise program is difficult to maintain over a long period of time, and many start strong and taper off with the excuse that “life got in the way.”  Gradually, the zealousness to do whatever slips away and we wait for our next fire under the butt to kick it in gear again.  Yes, the notorious all-or-nothing mindset.  It is a problem here.

I have consistently encouraged my personal training clients to get in some exercise on off days, even if it’s just a few minutes of walking or whatever.  I tell them, “Five minutes  of exercise is better than zero minutes.”  Researcher and author Michelle Segar, PhD. in her book No Sweat, encourages her clients to simply move more often and to do what they enjoy.  She really tries to shake up their mindsets regarding what exercise is and how often they do it, examining their “why” of activity.  She discusses how often a person’s preconceptions of exercise as needing to be long and grueling often get in the way of simply moving and being healthy.  Rather, she helps her clients overcome the self-imposed barriers to fitness and to do movements that they enjoy, counting such things as going up the stairs or taking the dog for a stroll.   Her goal is to help people stay motivated to move not just for a brief stent but throughout their lives in ways that encourage continued movement.  On her website (www.michellesegar.com) she encourages health professionals that “We must transform healthy behavior from a chore individuals feel pressured by into a gift they want to give themselves.”  I love that because being able to move and enjoy those movements is indeed, “a gift!”  And in her book she states, “research shows that human beings are hardwired to choose immediate gratification over benefits we have to wait to receive.  Logic doesn’t motivate us – emotions do.  But there is real science behind the idea that moving our bodies changes our brains in ways that lead to happiness and much more.  The benefits that research shows for regular exercise are truly astounding: more energy, better sleep, less stress, less depression, enhanced mood, improved memory, less anxiety, better sex life, higher life satisfaction, more creativity, and better well-being over.”  Finding the personal motivation to keep up healthy behaviors, especially movement, is key for each of us to stay consistent.  I love how more and more people are tying in the recognition that movement does so much more for us then keep our waistlines trimmer.  Movement makes us happier!

So, challenge for you:  identify one physical activity that you enjoy today and do it for two minutes or more.  It can be anything from dancing to a favorite song, hula hooping, or cleaning up the kitchen (and if you truly enjoy that last one, please feel free to come clean up mine!!).   Feel free to share what you chose…  We all need some inspiration!  Simply get thee a movin’…!

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