Why exercise? There are so many reasons:
- Lose weight
- Stronger bones
- Look better
- Prevent heart disease
- Manage diabetes
- Reduce cancer risk
The list could go on for a long, long time.
We all know why we should exercise. But do you know Your Why for Exercising?
Your Why is not the same all the whys we could list. It’s personal, only you can find it. When you do find it though, you know it, not just in your head, you know it in your heart.
Here is an example in a German Holiday advertisement. (Warning: have a tissue ready).
Now THAT is a Why.
So what is Your Why for exercise? It’s is not to lose weight. If that were the why you would not care what you could do or how you felt when that number on the scale magically flashed your ideal weight. Its a sweet moment but if you felt more tired, weak and mentally down, what would be the point?!
The header of this blog is a whole bunch of personal whys. The ability to ski with your kids, play on the floor with your grandchildren, perform in plays again, do all the excursions on a dream vacation, dance at your daughters wedding, have the energy to be a passionate teacher again… the list goes on.
When exercise is missing Your Why, its just a task that is most likely to get pushed down on the list when life gets busy.
When exercise is carefully planned for you to get to Your Why, each movement becomes a statement “I am not willing to live without this one thing in my life anymore!”
Your Why will change, so if you had a Why and it is no longer motivating your exercise routine, time to go back and rediscover your new Why or rethink what you are doing so you are confident it will get you to Your Why.
How do you find your Why for Exercising?
You ask yourself, what do I want from exercise that nothing else will give me?
Write down your answer.
Now, ask yourself:
Why is that important to me right now?
Write down your answer.
Keep asking “why is that important to me right now” 5-7 more times and write down whatever comes to you.
Now, look at your answers. What is the common theme that brings a tear to your eye and some excitement to your heart? What is the one thing in there that is so personally important to you, you are not wiling to live without. That is Your Why for Exercising!
The next step is as important as finding Your Why for Exercising. Plan what to do for exercise so you know it is going to prepare your body and mind to get Your Why. The most important part of this commercial is that this man did the exact movement for exercise that he wanted to do for His Why. If he didn’t, exercise would not have worked for him, and it would not have been motivating enough to get him out in the cold to do it every day!
Exercise works like that. The movements you do are the ones that will improve. Do you need to walk for that dream vacation? Then walk, even if it is just ten feet at a time to start. Do you need to be able to get up and down off the floor to play with your grandchildren, then learn the right way to squat and step up with one leg so your body is able to lift you to standing with confidence.
Do exercises that strengthen the movements that mimic what you want to do, not the ones that tone body parts. If your why has something to do with looking better, go back and ask why a few more times. While its great to look better, but that’s an external why. You need to find the internal, personal why below the surface of looking better to get that kind of motivation to exercise and guidance for what to do for exercise.
Choose a word or image that captures Your Why and keep that front and center so you see it when you are in that moment of choice about exercise. This will help ensure that what you are doing is strongly connected to Your Why for Exercising.
If you are a UMass Memorial Weight Center patient we can figure this out in a session together, so what you are doing for exercise to lose weight is motivating because you know it is the way to Your Why!
Keep Moving, Be Well,