It’s spring training time again!
Each year as we enter the shorter, colder days of the year I invite you to take time to think about spring. First, it keeps us aware that the days will get longer again and the weather improve. Second, this is the time of year we find more reasons not to exercise, yet it is the time of year we need it most.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. Even if you do not have SAD, it is easy for your mood to drop this time of year. This, along with the weather and other seasonal challenges puts a drain on exercise motivation.
Using a spring training mindset about exercise this time of year can be a reminder that it is temporary. Considering yourself in spring training gives purpose and hope to each and every exercise session.
The fact is, your body and mind area always ‘training’ for something. Your body is either ‘training’ for less stamina, strength and mobility or more stamina, strength and mobility. Your body gets used to what you give it. Since you are in spring training anyway, why not spend this time of year in a way that will make springtime even more enjoyable. The added bonus is, exercise is a powerful treatment for the low mood of the season too!
Let’s set your Spring Training plan in motion:
- Close your eyes and imagine it is the first beautiful day of Spring. What physical activities will you be doing? Brainstorm a list.
- What do you need for those activities? Strength? Stamina? Mobility? All three?
- Choose types of exercise that will build what you need for the activities you want to do. When you do them, picture how they are helping prepare your body for the activities you want to enjoy in the spring.
This simple act of writing down what you want and your exercise plan to get it, improves your chances of achieving it by about 33% according to one study. Writing down what you did along the way has also been shown to improve chances of success. This time of year, we need all the motivational boosts we can get, so take this extra step to write down your plan and progress.
Your mindset matters here too. Mindful self-compassion is a powerful tool for motivation as well. I recommend tracking in a way that keeps you present to how what you are doing makes you feel now. Tracking is a great way to recognize accomplishments of any size, because it is easy to forget what you did for exercise. When you fall short of your own expectations, use self-compassion to keep you from giving up completely. Use positive self talk to remind yourself this is not about perfection. Something is always better than nothing and consistency is most important.
I will check in on how your spring training is going as winter approaches. If you need a bit of extra accountability, post your plan in the comments below!
Keep Moving Be Well,