Does this sound familiar? You start an exercise program, vowing that you’ll stick with it, but then life happens. You miss one planned workout and then another one, and then another.
Does this feel familiar? When you do exercise, the activity you think you should be doing feels too much like work. Eventually, you stop, feeling resentful: exercise is supposed to be good for you, but this is awful. Or, maybe you feel that you’ve failed at exercise. You just can’t get it right.
Most of us have been there and it doesn’t feel good.
But guess what? If exercise feels like a chore you have to do, it’s not your fault. The system we’ve all learned for exercising sets up most people to fail. And the saddest part about this is that we’re the ones losing out.
Daily physical movement is among the most amazing gifts we can give ourselves. Even a few extra added minutes of activity deliver immediate boosts of positivity:
- We’re happier, because moving our bodies lifts our mood
- We have more energy to fuel enthusiasm for what we need to do every day
- We feel stronger (because we are stronger), even when we’re not moving
- We feel more comfortable in our bodies and enjoy them more (including sex)
- And, oh yeah . . . it’s good for our health!
These incredible elixir-of-life benefits from movement are why The University of Vermont Health Network and I are so excited to be able to bring you Everything Counts. This fun and inspiring month-long program and giveaway is based on the ideas and practical science in my award-winning book No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness.
The core of this program is right there in the title: When it comes to reaping the benefits of moving our bodies, everything counts. Your daily possibilities for physical movement are infinite!
“Everything Counts” is easy and inspiring
Everything Counts is a 30-day program designed to give you new insights and strategies that will help you transform fitness from a chore into a gift, fueling lasting motivation to keep daily physical movement as part of your life.
We will guide and support your explorations of movement every day and provide you with a toolkit of experiences and strategies that will keep you motivated for life. You’ll learn how to make fitting in fitness easy and fun, you’ll feel good doing it, and you might even win a prize that will help you on your fitness journey!
Week 1. A New WHY: Reframing and Re-Experiencing Physical Movement
Let’s start by re-thinking why we pursue fitness. Research shows that our “Why” for exercise – our motivating reason – influences which physical activities we choose and whether or not we stay motivated stick with them. If you start moving out of a sense of obligation, feeling like you “should” do it, then being active feels like a chore.
In contrast, when you choose to move as a way to experience positivity, movement can become a gift – you reframe exercise as something you want to do because it immediately energizes your day.
Ready to escape the cycle of failure and start reaping the amazing, immediate feel-good benefits of movement?
- Find your own Why for movement. Choose a new Why for being active that has personally meaningful benefits in your daily life: more energy, more time with friends and family, lifted mood, and so on. These type of Whys tend to be more motivating over time than external motivators like “I should exercise because person X told me to.” Instead, your Why could be: “I choose to exercise because I feel more energized for time spent with my kids.”
- Enjoy the movement you choose: We are less motivated by future goals (better health, losing weight) are fine, than by how movement makes us feel in the moment. This week, you’ll start to reframe your reason for moving your body to how it can help you NOW.
When Everything Counts, anything can happen. Ready? Let’s begin!
Stay Tuned: Next week’s post will bust myths about how much, how hard, and where we should be moving our bodies. Stay tuned!
Michelle Segar, PhD, MPH, MS, motivation scientist, is author of critically acclaimed “No Sweat! How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness.” She is the Director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center (SHARP) at the University of Michigan, and Chair of the U.S. National Physical Activity Plan’s Communications Committee. No Sweat was chosen as the #1 book in Diet/Exercise in 2015 by the USA Best Book Awards, when released it achieved the #1 bestselling Exercise & Fitness book on Amazon, and it was featured in The New York Times. Segar lives with her husband and son in Ann Arbor, and she loves walking, speaking Spanish, eating great food, and hanging out with friends and family. She ran with the Olympic Torch at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
If the ideas in the Everything Counts Program and Giveaway resonate with you and you want more, get a free chapter of No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness at: michellesegar.com/books/no-sweat/