Mind & Motion


Posted in Inspiration by Meghan Pickrell on November 21, 2010

I’m casually sitting here, on my couch, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, sipping a second cup of coffee and perusing my favorite blogs. The temperature has changed in Los Angeles over the past few weeks; the usual 75 degree weather has plunged to 60. These frigid winter temperatures make it difficult to do anything productive- like step beyond my front door.

It’s now 4:15, the day is sailing by and I have yet to work on my thesis or the several other research papers due by the end of the semester. Instead, I’ve decided to blog, which could be considered productive for a Sunday afternoon. But, even typing a little inspiring story took a bit of motivation.

Motivation. Ugh. Some people have it and some people don’t. Some clients are so motivated to exercise that I focus on getting them to relax (You know who you are… you are probably the ones reading this blog right now). Then there are others who find exercising the most daunting task.

I once had an older client who had trouble moving. I would visit him at his home and lead him through exercises with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. All of my attempts were met with a challenge on Paul’s end- it appeared that it was difficult for him to even walk at a quick pace. That is until the phone rang. That man jumped to his feet and scurried over to make sure that phone was answered in time. (I made a note that if things got really bad during our sessions I would secretly dial his apartment number from my cell phone to at least increase his heart rate.)

The question at hand for today’s blog is – how do we motivate to exercise? By and large, if you like the task at hand you will be motivated to do it. This is one reason why I encourage my clients to find an exercise practice in which they enjoy. Some people are competitive in nature, and participating in a sport is motivating. Others are motivated by music and a dance class fulfills their need. Some want inner peace and participate a yoga practice. Whatever you enjoy – being outside, engaging with others in a group class, music, sport etc. will help you to motivate and remain consistent.

The second motivating factor about exercise is that it produces so many benefits. In addition to providing physical health benefits, research shows that exercise helps boost mood and increases the ability to cope with stress. It can also promote emotional health and well-being. I always ask how my clients are feeling after a session. Most of the time clients feel better than when they arrived (hopefully!). This feeling is even more heightened for those with chronic pain who almost always have some discomfort. If performing a variety of movements for an hour makes you feel better, then this could be a motivating step toward performing home exercises. They are good for you and they make you feel better! The better you feel, the more likely you will want to continue the process.

The third step is to schedule it. If it’s out of sight, it will be out of mind. I have my religious clients who see me twice a week and rarely miss. Schedule it like anything else. Once it’s in the blackberry, iphone or calendar you will be more likely to stick to it. We are creatures of habit, use this to your advantage.

I’m encouraging you to schedule something that you like to do and that will serve you well… Now do it! 🙂

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