#1 In 2013, what percent of adults in the US were getting the recommended cardiovascular and muscular activity?
#2 In 2014, what percent of adults reported no leisure time physical activity?
This is not a guilt trip; it is to say that if you struggle with consistently getting “enough exercise,” you are in the majority. The good news is about 60% are doing something for physical activity – maybe not enough or consistently enough to get the full benefits – but doing something.
The above statistics have not changed much the past years. Our strategy of listing all the reasons to exercise and the bad things that could happen if you don’t is just not working. (Believe me, I tried it for many years.) What gets lost between knowing and doing? Why are most people missing out?
Daniel Pink, motivation expert, shares some insights in his TED talk. If we want to motivate for simple tasks, incentives or threats work. However, adopting and sustaining a regular exercise program is no simple task! It is complex, requiring creativity and problem solving. What works is building intrinsic motivation – the desire to do something because we like it, we feel we can get better at it (mastery), and that it is a part of something bigger.
Let’s learn from the experts and get back in the driver’s seat of our own natural motivation to move!
All movement is good, as long as the body can withstand the challenge.
Adapted from Jules Mitchell
All movement is good…
The body was amazingly made to move. What is “good” depends on what we want from it. We often equate good with burning a lot of calories or getting the heart rate up and making us sweat, or leaving us sore afterwards. When movement is reduced to this, we miss out – big time!
When good is defined by the media and popular culture, motivation tanks. When good is defined by what you really want from exercise and supported by movement science, motivation and success soar.
Getting clear about your true goal is essential here, which leads us to the second part of that quote.
As long as the body can withstand the challenge…
The body is so smart. It is constantly changing and adjusting to what it needs. Given a challenge, it will do all it can to adapt to make it easier. No challenge? It will adapt to that. Too much challenge at once? Something breaks down.
How do we know what is enough challenge?
It starts with mindfulness. Staying aware and open to the feedback from the body. (Remember our plant analogy?) Staying aware of what we really want. Continually asking with curiosity and kindness – what I getting from what I am doing?
Take back the driver’s seat of your natural motivation to move:
- Get really clear about your true goal.
- Create a movement plan for that specific goal.
- Stay aware with kindness of what the body is telling you.
- Measure success by the results you truly want (hint: it’s not just the scale going down).
Stay tuned to this website for more detailed blogs and resources about types of movement, what is good for certain goals, and how to help the body adapt in a healthy way to challenges. Contact me if you are ready to get started with your healthy sustainable exercise plan.
May You Be Well,
Janet Huehls, MA, RCEP, CHWC
Clinical Exercise Physiologist
Health and Wellness Coach
Yoga and Meditation Teacher
* Source: CDC – NPAO Data Trends and Maps