I am very lucky in the fact that exercise has always been part of my life, and for the majority of this time it has been something that I love.
Their have however been times when I didn’t enjoy exercise as much as I should of, and yes sometimes it felt like a punishment. I did push myself to run harder, faster, longer. This in itself, as any health professional will tell you, is a recipe for disaster.
In my case it led to injury and burnout, making for one miserable human.
So why is it that some of us love to exercise, while the rest of us would rather gargle glass?
I believe this is mainly to do with people’s attitude to fitness.
When I approached a workout with the goal of losing weight, I would obsess over it. I’d jump on the scales after a workout and feeling disheartened when the scales didn’t reflect what I wanted to see.
There are two problems here.
The first is that many of us approach a workout with the end goal of losing weight. After a week of not losing anything we become disheartened.
This is an issue in society today, as everyone now seems to be focused on instant gratification. We see models in magazines, with picture perfect bodies, and we want to aspire to be that. What we often forget is that these images are often air brushed and photoshopped.
The second is our perception of skill level compared to others. Most people are never going to be the next Usain Bolt, however your skill level will always improve with repetition and hard work, you’ll be able to see real changes in your body, and fitness. I wasn’t able to run a marathon by just jogging around the block a few times. It took months, perhaps years of regular training to reach a level where my body could handle the strain.
When I exercise for the joy of moving and getting my blood pumping, I enjoy every second of it. That’s why Pilates became my go to exercise. It has always provided me with the perfect balance of fitness, fun, and return.
Pilates isn’t about how many calories you burn. Sure you can push your limits, and you can achieve amazing body transformations, but the goal is always to improve posture and help to correct lifestyle related postural changes.
After a class your body feels rewarded with the correction of tight muscles and realignment of the body.
If we change our approach to exercise, with the view to create a healthier body, and look at factors like energy levels and vitality as the outcomes, rather than weight loss, we would all be far more likely to stick with it.
I see this every day in my Pilates classes. My clients focus on the joy of being there, and how good it makes them feel, rather than counting lost calories. Any changes to their body composition after classes become an added bonus.
So create a mind shift where exercise, and your relationship to it, is not be one of dread, but one were you are focusing on creating a healthier you.
With this new focus, the goal becomes skill, improvement rather than instant autonomic control. Soon you will shift your attention to the health benefits that you are creating through increasing your cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength.
Yes, it will also help you burn calories, but that should not be the goal, just a healthy by product.
You may not be the master of the exercise but granted you will earn so much more respect and admiration for yourself for getting out there and giving it a go. So what do you have to lose? Get out there and fall in love with exercise!
I hope that provides some food for thought. So next time you get out to exercise, focus on the instant benefits that 15 minutes of walking will provide.