How to keep your new exercise habits in the new normal. Part 2, how to stay motivated

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The one thing every one of us has in common right now is that our lifestyle has changed.  For some, it is filled with more time demands and less time for self care. For others, the social distancing has been a great opportunity to do more self care, catch up on home projects and enjoy moving in the outdoors with family.   We will use this next blog series to take a look at what changes you want to keep and which ones you need to adjust to allow you to keep moving and be well for the duration of this outbreak, and beyond.  

Last week we looked at how much is enough exercise so you are more confident you can fit exercise into a busy lifestyle.This week lets look at how to keep your brain wanting to come back for more, even as we move into the new normal in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your brain is hardwired to choose what makes you feel better now. That is why comfort food works, its an instant hit of feel good chemicals to your brain and your brain says “wow, that feels good, lets do that again!”

The trick to getting that kind of response from your brain when you exercise comes from three steps

  1. Exercise in the way that makes your body feel better. If you don’t know how and you are a UMass Weight Center Patient, book an exercise appointment and we will figure it out.   If you are not part of the Weight Center, find an exercise professional who has a degree and training in exercise for health (not athletic training).  Look for an exercise physiologist or a personal trainer certified by the ACSM.  Click here to find one.  They will know how to guide you to move right so it feels good each time.
  2. Pay attention when you are exercising.  What your body is telling you when you move is the most reliable information you have about how to exercise.  No one else knows how your body feels.  If you are distracting to get through the exercise session or have someone pushing you, it is more likely you will those signals from your body that it is not the right way to move for you right now.  Check out these posts about exercise and pain if you tend to push through pain.
  3. Notice that exercise made you feel better.  When exercise is a check on your to do list, you miss how great you feel when you are doing.  When you eat comfort food, that nice feeling is hard to ignore.  But with exercise, it is often missed.  Pausing and noticing how you feel after exercise is the way to help your brain remember “wow that feels good, lets do that again!”.

If you want to maintain your exercise habits as we return to the new normal, try these three science based strategies and sticking with it will be much easier.

Keep moving, be well,

Janet

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by | July 7, 2020 · 8:08 pm

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