There is much focus today on why is exercise important – For that of improving our physical health, with the current obesity epidemic and increase in health problems such as type 2 Diabetes it is all the more important for people to become aware of why they need to exercise regularly and the benefits of doing so.
Throughout my time as health and fitness coach I have seen many people motivated to improve their health with exercise by their physical needs/ desires. Either they want to improve how they look or they have been forced to take notice of their health through a difficult health experience which has motivated them to do so.
When someone has a bad experience with their health, or their doctor tells them that they need to do something otherwise their health could deteriorate dramatically this of course is very powerful and usually enough to motivate them in to changing the habits of a lifetime.
However my desire is that people don’t have to wait for something awful to happen before they become motivated to improve their health. In addition the first common motivator that people have to improve their appearance is often not enough of motivation to be able to sustain the habit. It can be a good one, but then when immediate results are not seen or not as quick as a person would like then they become unmotivated and often give up, to then go on to repeat the cycle perhaps the next year.
I choose to take a different approach because I know that exercise is much more than just the physical benefits and that this is too often not enough to motivate someone to exercise regularly. The great thing is that when you begin to exercise you will notice immediate benefits in terms of improvement in your psychological wellbeing. You will feel more positive and energised from your first workout and this benefit will always be there for as long as you continue to exercise.
Regular exercise promotes an inner change as well as an outer change but it is always the inner change of feeling good from your workout that will come first. So if you do struggle with motivation or are motivated by purely physical ideals, I put it to you to try something different and use the the psychological/emotional benefits as your motivating force and see if you notice a difference in your desire to exercise. How many of you want to feel better or happier now? Exercising is a sure way to increase this state no matter what your situation.
As a reminder and an outline, here are some of the main psychological/ emotional benefits you can experience from your very first workout;
Feeling of Wellbeing
Increased self – esteem
Increased self confidence
Feelings of enthusiasm
Feelings of accomplishment – leading to increased self development and motivation.
Feelings of courage and determination- increased ability to persevere and overcome obstacles
More productivity in your day
Increase in Concentration and improved memory
Improved self belief and confidence
- Relief of stress and tension
These are some of the many benefits you will receive from exercise and when you continue to exercise regularly these benefits will increase and the physical benefits will follow. In my opinion these psychological/emotional benefits are equally as important as the physical benefits and far more motivating because they are there instantly and they continue to increase. So it is an immediate and constant reward system if you choose to focus on it.
With these immediate improvements you can notice an improvement in your relationships due to improved mood and self confidence, an improvement in your productivity at work or in study amongst others. These results alone are important enough reasons for you to exercise and you will notice this very quickly.
If you are motivated well by physical outcomes then of course this is good and use this to continue if it works well for you.
But if when your next thinking about going to the gym or doing any form of exercise and you are struggling to feel motivated, try to think about it differently in terms of these emotional reasons and benefits you will obtain from it, and see if this helps, don’t wait until your doctor tells you or your scared or feel pressured in to going.
Take action now and you will FEEL better for it guaranteed. We need to take more responsibility for our own health and wellbeing and better to do so before waiting until our bodies are telling us to do so through the symptoms of ill health and non- activity. Try a different approach.
‘It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.~ Cicero