Our TV sets pipe out weight loss products that promise quick fixes through magical milkshakes and every second post on Facebook reveals sports models who promote exercise programs that will have you looking like them if you complete 500 burpees per day, and that’s just a warm up.
The rarely used items in your garage such as the stationary bike or ab roller and fold up treadmills under the bed became items to hang clothes on because at some point, you lost your motivation.
Regardless of your goals or reasons for exercising, your brain is a key factor in keeping you motivated to exercise.
So how can we stay motivated to keep moving.
3 tips to help keep your brain moving:
LISTEN TO YOUR BRAIN IF IT FEELS ANXIOUS
Feeling safe with your exercise is the most important component of any exercise program
My work in the exercise and movement area has involved working with new born babies, parents/ carers, school aged children and now adults of all ages and the one thing all humans have in common is that our brain’s DO NOT LIKE FEELING ANXIOUS.
Whether a baby is learning to take a few steps, a toddler is trying a new height to jump down from, or an adult is getting on a stationary bike again after years of back pain or a heart condition, our brain’s will tell our bodies to
“ hold up there matey, are you sure this is good for us?”
A new exercise program should feel safe and often this means starting in small steps of 5 minutes and allowing yourself to build your program progressively
Being afraid of exercise is something many people experience and a safe environment is crucial when planning a long term active lifestyle change.
If you feel sick, anxious or feel nervous about what is going to happen in an exercise class, make sure you let your trainer know.
When working with the developing brain, we cradle babies if they feel nervous , and support them through new activities.
The adult brain needs this support also .
Our brains are fine tuned to tell our bodies when to rest, when to be alert and when it can feel safe. So listen to your brain.
TIMELY RESPONSE AND FEEDBACK FROM SIGNIFICANT PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE IS POWERFUL
Babies learn to talk and walk through watching their adult role models who provide constant encouragement and timely feedback when a new activity is attempted. The feedback provider, which is often a parent or carer, is sensitive to watching for anxiety and is ready to provide comments and advice when an attempt is made .
These attempts to talk, walk, jump and run do not have to be successful or performed in any particular way. They just need to be tried, and are more likely to be tried if the environment is safe and nurturing.
The adult brain craves response too. This is why automated online fitness programs are so successful as your brain is instantly being rewarded for making your body move.
Although these messages may be somewhat impersonal, they provide the feedback our brains need to keep going.
If you know of a mate a neighbour, or a family member who is embarking on a new fitness goal, give them a call and ask them how they are going, just in case their computer is flat our they are not able to reach the internet for their daily “ congratulations email”. Tell them no matter what score they got, they are moving each day and that is awesome.
FOLLOW A STRENGTH BASED APPROACH
It is sometimes hard not to focus on our weaknesses, and to feel the limitations of this weakness. However, reminding yourself what you can do, and what your interests are, and striving to improve in these areas has a powerful effect on your brain. With each small success in one area, the focus on any weakness becomes less apparent and you are able to enjoy the successes of your efforts in other areas.
So before you start your exercises today, remind yourself of all the things you are good at or enjoy, and remind your brain that it is powerful, it is strong and it doesn’t need to flexing it’s muscles in bikini to feel good. It just needs a hug, and to move along with your body today whilst you complete a comfortable exercise set.
Happy Movement and see you at training
Brodie Cambourne M Sc ( Hons) B Sc ( Anatomy/ Physiology)
Accredited Exercise Physiologist