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Pointers To Aid You Remain Enthused For Exercise

Despite the abundance of studies affirming the benefits of physical activity, the science itself does not always suffice to motivate us to get up and start moving. Common barriers include self-doubt, comparing oneself to others, cognitive distortions such as all-or-nothing thinking that can result in feeling overwhelmed, and believing exercise is only feasible when one is “in the mood.”

Do these obstacles ring a bell? Well, sometimes the most effective way to boost motivation is by leveraging the influence of a bit of physical activity.

Here to assist with this is Erica Hornthal, LCPC, BC-DMT, a licensed clinical professional counselor and board-certified dance/movement therapist. She recently shared a selection of her preferred movements that help her overcome fitness slumps on her Instagram profile.

“These tactics prove useful when we are stuck emotionally and cognitively, lacking motivation, or feeling out of options—especially during times of hypo- or hyper-arousal when we are outside of our ‘window of tolerance,'” she explains. “These interventions are effective due to the mind-body connection.” Below, she elaborates on how movement can be utilized to stir up motivation when you are hesitant to work out.

1. Discover a tempo or rhythm and groove to it

Simply swaying to music has the potential to enhance mindfulness, reduce psychological stress in the body by soothing the nervous system, and uplift the quality of life, as indicated by a recent meta-analysis on the advantages of dance. So, if you are feeling too overwhelmed to exercise, taking a dance break might be just the ticket.

2. Sway, shake, or rotate a body part

If you are caught up in your thoughts and feeling emotionally overwhelmed, this provides an effective method to reconnect with your body—by focusing on your physical presence. It can be as minor as tapping your toe. “Physical motion impacts cognitive drive,” according to Hornthal. “There is no ‘ideal’ way to move. It’s all about tiny actions as they can lead to significant shifts.”

3. Alter your posture

Feeling unprepared or devoid of inspiration for movement is understandable when your body is slouched, curved, or positioned in a way that impedes motion. However, the reverse is also valid, contends Hornthal. “Bodily motion affects links and brain activity, offering room for fresh ideas, perspectives, focus, attention, and thoughts,” she mentions. Hence, straighten up, align your spine, and observe the impact on your mood.

4. Rotate or adjust your direction

Movement influences thought processes, states Hornthal, so when seeking to reshape your thoughts, this serves as a straightforward technique to initiate momentum that fosters motivation. If you are accustomed to moving in one manner consistently, contemplate trying activities that necessitate different movement planes. For instance, rather than always progressing forward, like in walking, attempt a sport such as tennis which requires lateral lunging. This switch not only alters your outlook but can also prevent injuries and enhance longevity.

5. Focus on your breathing

“Unmoving bodies tend to remain so,” states Hornthal. “The aim is to ignite momentum, which, physiologically and psychologically, leads to motivation. Engaging in slight, uncomplicated movements is the most straightforward approach to generate momentum.” Keep this in mind next time you need an additional push and wish to leverage movement to revive your motivation.

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