Blog Archives

Exercise is a great time to practice gratitude

The research on gratitude is pretty impressive! The simple act of writing in a gratitude journal once a day can improve your:

  1. Emotional Health; more resilient, more relaxed, less stress
  2. Physical health; better sleep, less doctors visits, longevity, more energy
  3. Social skills: more friendly, deeper relationships, more friends
  4. Career skills; better management skills, improved decision making, increased productivity,
  5. Personality; more optimistic, less materialistic, more self esteem

What happens when you use gratitude during exercise time?

You get all these benefits while improving your relationship with your body, your physical health and your motivation to continue exercising.

Exercise is typically at time to notice what your body cannot do. The purpose of exercise has become a way to improve your body in the future. This future focus mindset during exercise can take us in the opposite direction of gratitude, not only missing out on the benefits but limiting the health benefits of exercise. Exercise can quickly become a reminder of how far you have to go or how much you don’t measure up to the person next to you or the person you used to be or want to be. When it becomes a time of practicing self criticism and negativity. Those traits are not leading you toward health and wellbeing, no matter how fit your body becomes!

The simple fact is, what you practice gets stronger.

You might say sure! but if I don’t push myself I wont improve. I need a goal to be motivated.

While that may be true for athletics, it is not the truth for exercise motivation for heath benefits. You can set goals, but when you are exercising, keep your attention on what you can do today. This makes it more likely you will stick with it to get to that goal, while improving your health each time you move.

Research consistently shows that mindful self compassion leads to lasting motivation and self criticism leads to short term motivation.

If you are exercising to be healthy, the best way to improve your health and your long term motivation is having gratitude for what you can do now. You will be using mindfulness and self compassion, improving those skills known to improve eating and stress management skills too.

Give it a try and see how it goes. Move your body and focus on what you are grateful for that it can do now, today. Post what you notice in comments!

Keep Moving, Be Grateful, Be Well

Happy Thanksgiving!

Janet

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by | November 23, 2021 · 7:52 pm

Functional Strength Training

This video is a great way to show what strength training for function and health is about. Often the images in the media for strength training are ones of body building and ‘aesthetic’ fitness. These are certainly uses of strength training exercises but they are not the only reason. In fact, for most of us, strength training is not about looking better, its about functioning as well as possible for as long as possible.

When you want to be healthy, it means more than having a clean bill of health from your doctor. Being healthy means being able to do what you enjoy, with ease and without fear of injury.

When strength exercises mimic movements of daily living, rather than isolating muscle groups, it is strength exercise for being healthy.

In this video, she is lifting heavy (or at least big) weights, but don’t let that give you the wrong idea.

The benefits she is getting is mostly from the muscle memory she is building for all of her muscles working together to do these movements with more ease when she does them in daily life. That does not require lifting large weights. It does require your full attention though so your brain and body can learn to work together. Although there are added benefits of gradually adding more resistance, but only when you have the muscle memory and core strength to do movements with ease.

So strength training for being healthy means doing movements of daily life, incorporating your core in each movement, doing them with full focus, and practicing them on a regular basis.

Keep Moving, Be Well and Stay Strong!

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by | November 16, 2021 · 10:00 pm

How to be ready for Spring 2022

In the last post I invited you to write down three physical activities you want to be easier or more possible in Spring 2022. What did you come up with?

Winter is a time exercising can become extra challenging. How do you meet other challenges in your life? Exercise is no different. It takes a bit of planning to ensure you will stick with it year round. Why is that so important? Because your body is a use it to keep it system.

“You are what you repeatedly do” Aristotle

When you start with what you want to be able to do in Spring 2022, you know what you need to “repeat” this Winter to make that happen. If there are activities on that list you cannot do right now, treat that activity like you would a small plant that you want to grow. Give it just a bit of what it needs, consistently, and watch for signs it is thriving on that level of movement.

Lets say you want to be able to hike in spring. If your stamina is low and climbing hills is painful right now, start at the level you can do now. Starting with hills and speed and distance wont make your body stronger, it will just set back the process of growth. Just like a small plant only needs a small amount of water, just enough done with consistency is the key to progress.

While this may seem like a ‘no brainer’, raise your hand if you tend to be an all or nothing type exerciser. You likely can trace that all or nothing mindset back to athletic performance goals somewhere in your past. We all want to make progress but our body can only grow at its natural rate. When you want to be healthy, its time to be a ‘something is better than nothing’ exerciser.

Take a moment now to:

  1. Sum up what you want for Spring 2022 in one word. For example; calm, strength, stamina, energy, flexibility, balance
  2. Choose one time each day you will set aside at least a few minutes to practice that skill
  3. Choose one simple movement you can do intentionally each day; walk, dance, stretch, balance,

Keep it super simple and arrange it so it feels like a celebration of what you CAN do each day. Put on music, invite a friend to join you, or add anything to remind you this is a time you are taking for yourself. When you use this season well, the next one is mostly likely to be filled with activities you can enjoy with more ease.

Keep Moving, Be Well

Janet

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by | November 9, 2021 · 10:34 pm

It’s Spring Training Time Again!

This weekend, we turn the clocks back one hour. Its amazing how much that one hour makes a difference in our plans, our time, and our energy doesn’t it?

It is however, a defining moment in our year. It is a clear invitation to make a plan for the upcoming season.

Each year on this blog, I invite you to take a few minutes this week and write down your Spring Training Plan. When winter exercise is spring training for the activities you want to be able to do by the time we spring forward, it is much more motivating, time efficient and enjoyable!

Writing something down is powerful. Taking the time to do it is often the challenge. Don’t put it off, this is your moment.

Grab a piece of paper and pen or just open the notes section on your phone and write down three physical activities you want to be easier or more possible in Spring 2022.

In the next blog I will share with you how to use that information to stay motivated to exercise through the shorter days of winter.

Happy Spring Training Everyone!

Keep Moving, Be Well

Janet

PS: Add your comments below

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by | November 2, 2021 · 8:09 pm

The ten percent rule for exercising with the quickest results

When you want quick results for weight loss, the temptation is to start exercising more. But what we are learning about the body, and the brain, is that more is not necessarily better!

A smart way to exercise for the quickest results possible is to respond rather than react.

Take a moment to check in with the reason your weight is up in the first place. If its inflammation, you need exercise to help calm your nervous system and not create more stress. Doing too much too soon will only add to the problem. Try some mindful movement and other forms of exercise that calm you. That means if you are short on time, find something that is very doable in the time you have available. If you are embarrassed about your weight, exercise at home or somewhere you feel comfortable. Stay away from competitions and challenges that can cause you to do more than your body is ready to do.

Use exercise to help you sleep. Lack of quality sleep has a strong connection to weight gain. Exercise can help you sleep better when used well. Notice the type of exercise and time of day that has the best impact on your sleep. For some, this is higher intensity exercise to help calm anxiety. For some its lower intensity to slow down from a busy day. Only you know what is right for you.

Movement science tells us that the body can adapt to a 10 percent increase in exercise per week. If you are walking for 30 minutes, that would be a 3 minute increase the following week. That is not much! The 10 percent rule is just a guide but a helpful one to keep your ideas about how much you need to increase in check.

Most important is listen to your body, start with the amount that does not cause fatigue or pain or soreness, use a slow gradual increases in the amount of exercise you do, and be consistent. It is not easy to be at a weight you don’t want to be at. Thrown in lots of self-compassion to help you focus on what you can do each day and your body is most likely to thank you with not only weight loss but greater strength, stamina and mobility each step of the way too!

Keep Moving, Be Well

Janet

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by | October 5, 2021 · 5:30 pm