Making the Most of Exercise

Making the Most of Exercise


Thinking about how good exercise is for you before your morning walk can actually make that morning walk better for you.

Each of us comes to fitness with our own ideas about it. Maybe you have always felt uncoordinated, had issues with gym class as a kid, or were pushed to play a sport you hated. Or maybe it’s the opposite. It’s an area that you feel totally in command, you’ve successfully found activities that you enjoy, you excelled in a certain sport, or you’ve mastered your favorite pose in yoga class.

A third possibility is that you’ve made your peace with exercise. You know about the benefits of it on your body and your mind. A new study out of the University of Freiburg’s Department of Sport Science, led by Hendrik Mothes found that when participants already had a positive view of exercise, they experienced more benefits than those with a less positive framework. They reported enjoying the exercise more, as well as both improving their mood and lessening their anxiety to a greater degree. Researchers also found that participants who watched a video that extolled the benefits of cycling before cycling themselves showed a bigger psychological payoff that those who watched a neutral video before cycling.

So take a moment before you get moving. Imagine yourself feeling buoyant and light hearted. Imagine your blood moving through your system, delivering nutrients and oxygen to your muscles. Think of how good you feel throughout the day when you’ve started that day with movement. There is a sense of accomplishment that is felt from literally getting your muscles moving, activating the flow of blood and ideas and nourishment throughout your system. If you can’t for the life of you remember how good exercise is for you, find a book or website that talks about the benefits, or a social media page that shows people doing healthy things. Igniting your own spark of belief in the benefits of what you are about to do not only makes it more fun, but also changes the actual effect on you.

You could also create your own affirmation, or try one of these to help you get your move on and create the best results possible:

  • Moving my body unleashes joy within me.
  • I am energized by the feeling of my muscles working.
  • I find calm and peace after my evening walk.
  • My heart beats strong and true as it supports my healthy movement.
  • Once I exercise, I feel ready to do anything.
  • I feel vital, nourished and alive after I have pushed myself physically.

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