For some, exercise is embedded in their daily routine because they have done their research and concluded that staying active has beneficial health related outcomes. For others, it is an on again off again cycle with the external motivator of outward appearance. In my younger years, I was the latter. I was motivated by the desire to look good. I would begin a workout routine sporadically, stick to it for a few months then discontinue when the desired outcome was achieved. In the back of my mind, I knew it was good for me to be active, but it was not my motivating factor. As a result, in my twenties, I hated exercising and consequently, I would lose interest in my work-out and stop. This back and forth with “exercising” lasted well into my thirties. What changed and how did that affect the way I live today?
The motivation for activity changed. It became about finding an internal motivator. What motivates you to be active? How are you active? Do you want to be thin or physically fit? The answers to these questions will assist you in focusing on finding out what makes you want to put on your workout clothes.
Remember when you had to study for a test? Chances are that if the content was not meaningful to you, you memorized the information in order to complete the assessment accurately and you were satisfied with the outcome, but after the assessment was over, the material was not retained. In contrast, when the content was meaningful, you immersed yourself in the learning, studying was not about memorization, it was about expanding your knowledge, so you kept at it. The same applies to exercise. What you do to be active must be meaningful to you. It must be done at your pace, on your timeline, and create a desire to do it.
Do a self-check:
When do you exercise?
- Middle of the day
- Late evening
How do you prefer exercising?
- With a partner
- With a group
Are you in or out?
- Exercise facility
- Work-out routines
- More Hobbies
How do you feel after you finish your exercise?
How do you feel when you are doing something related to your hobby?
What is your basal metabolic rate or BMR?
Now that you know when, with whom, and where you complete your physical activity, check to see if it is in line with your hobby. Can you connect the two? For instance, if you enjoy reading, download a book so you can listen to it while you exercise. If your hobby is an active one, find a way to make it more physically challenging and use it as one of the ways you exercise. For instance, I enjoy watching people interact and I like to be around people. When I started exercising several years ago, the natural choice for me was to walk.
I chose to walk in places where there were a lot of people, like the park, the boardwalk, and the mall. In order to make my hobby more challenging, I started to walk at a more rapid pace and that eventually led me to running. Now, I still drive myself to places where I can be surrounded by people while I run, but the mall is definitely out. And, because I am still doing an activity that I really like, I stick to it.
Next, turn to the number of calories you burn every day, your BMR (basal metabolic rate.) Calculate the number of calories you eat daily or your daily caloric intake. Knowing how many calories you burn daily without doing any exercise will help you in determining the frequency with which you exercise. This will also help you determine what your motivating factor is for keeping on the move. If you are motivated by losing weight, knowing the difference between your BMR and your DCI (daily calorie intake) will tell you if you are on the right track with the frequency of your exercise. This will also help you on those days when you want to give yourself a day off from your workout.
If you are like me and your motivator is to feel energized, maintain flexibility as you age, feel emotionally well, and enjoy doing something just for you, knowing this information will help you navigate the items you put on your plate as a way to stay healthy.
Finally, remember that there are times when you will not want to lace up and go, and that’s okay. Keeping this mantra in mind, will help you stay with your activity because you won’t feel like a failure if you miss a day or two or even three.
Jannette is an administrator for the Edison Township Board of Education. After undergoing surgery, Jannette suffered from gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Doctors prescribed medication but Jannette did not want to become dependent on such. She decided to start eating foods to assist in healing. Through this process, she discovered running, biking, eating right, and the use of natural products to assist in aging gracefully. Now, she runs, bikes, and swims with her 15 year old daughter and manages to outlast her on occasion. She is passionate about helping others do the same.
Main Photo Credit: wavebreakmedia/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: Jacob Lund/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: lzf/shutterstock.com; Fourth Photo Credit: Undrey/shutterstock.com