We’ve all heard it many times: exercise is good for us. Exercise provides increased circulation, strengthens the heart, and it truly helps keep us young. So why is it challenging for most people to make time for regular exercise? The excuses for not exercising are many: I’m too busy, I hate the gym, I’m too tired, my knees hurt and the list goes on and on. So what is the solution?
There is a way to motivate people to exercise. The secret is to make exercise fun to the point where the mind wants to do it. Finding a fun way to move does more than simply create a motive for movement. Having fun actually releases good chemicals in the brain and makes exercise more valuable to the body. When the brain is happy, the body is healthier. Having fun with movement does a lot more for the body than just increase circulation and build muscles. Part of building health has to do with the emotions, hormones and neurotransmitters flowing through the body. Some emotions improve health while others don’t. Feel guilty for not exercising or feeling lazy both stimulate a response in the body, and it’s not the one you’re seeking for optimal health. On the contrary when you accomplish something new in the body, such as lifting a heavier weight, making a faster time or improving at a sport, you feel great about your accomplishment and good hormones are released that give you energy and support the body on the cellular level. This can create a feeling of being high. Allow the brain to get high a few times and it will look for ways to feel that feeling more often. If exercise gives your brain rewards from the time you begin a new routine, the brain is likely to want to come back for more, and ultimately, it is your brain that decides if you exercise or not.
Often people want immediate results and they force themselves into a boot camp routine. For many people boot camp taxes the body resources that can be used for cell repair, regulation, digestion and other essential functions. For most bodies, a routine that graduates over time to more intense work is better and more motivating for the brain. When the body is greatly taxed by a boot camp style beginning, especially after a long period of time without a lot of exercise, neither brain nor body are left feeling better.
It might take some thought on your part, but sit down and come up with ways that are fun for you to move your body. Do you enjoy working out with others, being outside, going long distances or do you enjoy the gym? Does dancing, yoga or tai chi make you feel great? Find the fun in your workout and you will have all of the motivation to move that you need!