AS THE DAYS SHORTEN AND DARKNESS INCREASES MOTIVATION CAN SUFFER. Marisa Cohen provides more ways than you can count on all fingers to motivate yourself on days when spirits and energy are low and completing a workout doesn’t seem possible. Her article “15 Tricks to Have More Energy and Motivation to Exercise” can be found at Shape.com.
The advice tips include fairly standard measures like mental imaging, using mint as a sensory stimulant, buddying-up with a friend, getting it done early, overcoming gym shyness, and pumping up with emotive music. Other suggestions are not the usual tried and true offerings. Cohen recommends actions that are not exactly ‘active’, like taking rest days and sleeping. Of all fifteen, the following are my favorites because they regularly work for me: going for instant feelings of fitness, reading, and sticking with old routines.
GO FOR INSTANT REWARDS
As Cohen writes, we often imagine that it will takes weeks and months of grinding out exercise sets, endurance sessions, and gym workouts to see results. This is not true. When performing strength or balance work especially I can detect slight improvement during the second set and sometimes during the third. Slight, but enough to power me through the entire workout feeling better than at the start.
I fear, yes fear, doing pushups. But after the first set I am determined to get the next two under my belt and finish proud of the effort. “My strength is MY strength,” I tell myself. The same goes for high intensity interval training. Overcoming inertia during the first interval requires the biggest push; the second to last interval is the next hardest, and the last is the easiest.
The reward from completing an endurance workout, for me, is delayed until after I’ve cleaned up. That’s when a delicious sense of whole-body tiredness comes as a reminder that a tough training day has been checked off as ‘done’. It’s like a reverse alarm clock that goes off and wakes me up to the fact that this task is behind me; it’s over. This feeling is one of the very best ever. I miss this most, now that long, Saturday morning half marathon training runs are no longer a part of my athletic life. But maybe walk-runs are in my future?
The point is that the rewards of training come on a regular basis throughout a good program. The completion of a goal evokes bittersweet emotions because of this! I’m elated to finish but sad to be finished.
The author suggests reading life stories of amazing athletes to become inspired and recommends several books. Such stories are definitely motivating. I’ve listened to several of the running classics as audible offerings while running, cycling and walking. However, I find thumbing through magazines more personally inspiring. There are a greater variety of topics, and the subjects are not always athlete celebrities. Shorter Items discuss trends, gear, workouts, and races as well as the personal triumphs of individuals. I haven’t yet nailed down what it about magazines, especially the non-digital version of Runner’s World, that sets a fire under me, but they do. Maybe it’s the fact that periodicals are by nature seasonal, and appeal to my love of annually celebrated calendar-centric events.
FALL BACK ON OLD STAND-BY ROUTINES
This is a no brainer tip in my opinion that’s rarely advised. My thanks to Cohen for doing so! Like an outfit that has served me well for several to numerous occasions, tired-and-true workouts can do the same. We know they ‘fit,’ us, that we can perform them without too much mental effort, and that they get the job done (a fitness workout) when we don’t think it’s we have desire or energy.
Sometimes going through the motions of an old stand-by exercise set is so automatic that it’s over before I realize it, and decide to tack on a few more challenging moves at the end. Like watching a favorite movie again, when nothing new grabs your interest, moving through a favorite routine promises a smooth experience with a known outcome on a rough day.
These 3 tricks top my list of best motivation boosters. Marisa Cohen offers a dozen more! Check out her article to find at least one that can be tried on your next low-energy day. And when you do accomplish a workout, treat yourself to some self congratulations for a job well done!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/6-surprising-reasons-your-workout-feels-harder (this is correct link even though the address doesn't seem to match the article title)
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Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. In 1978 I began participating in 10K road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health and longevity.
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