Find your motivation to exercise
Today's post is about finding what drives you to move, how to make it a habit and learn about the innumerous benefits you will get if you do it.
At one stage of my life when I was facing a very decisive period, that was crucial to define my future – I found time to practice a sport. After long days of studying and classes, I was willing to practice volleyball outdoors, in cold days or late at night, 4 times a week for 2 hours. You know why? Because my passion for this particular sport – volleyball was my drive! I would never miss a training session and would fight against my parents’ will to practice this sport.
Then, I went to university, started working and stopped practicing sports – I was having the “sitting disease”. If you are not aware – the “sitting disease” is a term used to describe an individual whom doesn’t engage enough in physical activity to be healthy. This disease is responsible for 20% of deaths on people aged 35 years old or more.
I didn’t know this at that time! What I knew was that I was feeling – very bored, angry, upset, bad humor.
One day, I stopped to think and questioned myself – what can I do to feel better? And started thinking about activities that I used to like and do years ago. I quickly googled it “volleyball in Northampton” and a list of clubs came up. I contacted one of them and on the next training session – I was there. Since then, I’ve been practising volleyball and feeling much better, much happier! After so many years of not practising – around 10 years, I wish I never had stopped.
Now, I want you to find that activity you used to love and practiced before and for some reason you stopped doing it. It could be – jogging, walking, hiking, gardening, dancing…any activity that involves moving.
Think for a few minutes and write it down.
If you are not like me, and never stopped practising the activity that you love, please still write which one is it.
Look at what you wrote – this is what you love doing it! Never forget! This is also what drives you to move.
You need to know now, how to do it. If it’s an activity you did before, you probably know how to physically do but you don’t know how to make it a regular activity, a habit.
To create a habit, you need to commit to it for a period of 30 days. If you can make it through the initial conditioning phase, it becomes much easier to sustain.
You also need to keep it consistent – find a day and time that you can commit to it every week.
You’ve now found what drives you to move, you know how to do it…and I will tell you why you should do it!
If you do physical activity, you will gain the following immediate benefits – all of them are medically proven:
During exercise, when the heart rate increases, the blood flow to the brain improves, which helps to:
The brain will start producing brain cells which improves your long term memory. The brain will also increases it sizes – the more exercise you do at longer term the bigger your brain will be. This will have a protective effect on some diseases like: depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Exercise will also help you to maintain a healthy weight and decrease your risk of getting heart disease, strokes, diabetes type 2 and cancer.
Last but not least, you will feel happier, with better self-esteem, better mood and more energy.
I want to leave you with one last thought: bringing exercise into your life will not only make you feel happier but it will change the course of your life totally, preventing many incurable diseases!
If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented"
Hi, I'm Joana, a Portuguese registered dietitian in the UK. I am passionate about helping others achieving their health goals.