By Anne Laing –
I was going to skip my daily gym workout yesterday afternoon. We had already walked hills planting trees, plus it was cold and I had computer work to catch up on.
I knew from past experience that I would feel much better after 30 minutes of heavy gym work. I did eventually go (after much inner dialogue) and I did feel better — not just refreshed, but more energised, clear-headed and better prepared than I would have otherwise been to tackle the work load ahead.
I had to consciously reframe my exercise session thinking of it as a positive, restorative activity, therefore making it more likely that I would continue this daily habit – even though I often didn’t feel like doing it.
Many studies show that simply advocating physical activity to lose weight and be healthier won’t keep a busy business person on track for any length of time. The neuroscience of pain/reward has shown that it is the immediate paybacks of feeling better; having more energy, a better mood and less stress that will keep us motivated.
Many people are unconscious deflectors – devoting all their nurturing efforts and energies on others – but when we fail to prioritize self-care because we are too busy, our energy is not replenished and our health is not revitalised. Instead, we end up exhausted and mentally fatigued.
Our ability to ‘be there’ for loved ones, or to be on the top of our professional game, is compromised.
People who make physical activity a priority don’t necessarily have more time, motivation or passion than anybody else. They will, however, book in a slot for exercise because they know it enhances how they feel, their energy, their performance and the quality of their work-life balance.
In Dr. Segar’s book “No Sweat” she writes about The Paradox of Self-care;
“The more energy you give to caring for yourself, the more energy you have for everything else. View physical activity as a power source for everything else you want to accomplish.”
“Consistency always trumps Quantity!”
When establishing a fitness habit, remember that consistency is the key. Next is acknowledging challenges – always have a backup activity you can do. This need not be as strenuous as your normal activity but something that will give you that feel-good reward – something as simple as a brisk evening walk at sunset.
So next time you’re tempted to flag away your training session in favour of work, weather or wine, remember that exercise is the power source for everything you want to accomplish in life…