These are some interesting times that we are living in, and it’s really tough to motivate oneself in the face of uncertainty, fear and confusion about what is going on. The one thing that can help with that fear is, unfortunately, exercise. That’s right! That thing that you know you should do but can’t find the motivation to get into can be a big difference maker within your sphere of effort during this time.
It’s a bit of a catch 22, really. Stating that exercising can help with mental health, but mental health (more specifically depression, anxiety, etc) can prevent you from being able to start or maintain any exercise habits is the pickle so many people find themselves in. And further, knowing that you should, but you’re not engaged in the physical can lead to embarrassment, shame or any number of other negative emotions, which will make it harder to begin or resume the exercise habits.
So what if we try eating the elephant one bite at a time? What if we focus on breaking up exercise into little things that you can do during the day while you work or binge watch that series that just showed up on NetflixPrimeCraveHulu? Let’s figure out how we can add this little bit of activity into that day. What about things that help you in your life outside of this area? Do you set timers? Make lists? Create fun games? Try working within the wheelhouse that you already know instead of trying to add more to the pile. Anxiety and depression are heavy weights to carry – and though this is ‘mental’, the effect on the body is very real. It actually can have the same effects as carrying a heavy load on the body. So keep these add-on activities fun, light and easy to start. If you’re waiting for the coffee maker or kettle, or prepping dinner even, maybe try to add a few shoulder circles to the mix… or countertop incline pushups, or if you’re going to sit back down at the desk after getting your tea, coffee, water, (wine?), try doing a few squats before sitting back down.
Starting to incorporate these today doesn’t mean that you’ve made a habit – but it’s a great start. If you can add those tools that work for you (lists, timers, etc), you may find that you can really get some good volume in through a day, and then start to have that regularity that hurdles you towards doing this weekly (or even daily!)
And that’s going to be helpful to making a change in how you feel. Not just because you’re proud of yourself for exercising, but because you’re actually going to start reducing body pain from mobilizing the joints and cycling the muscles and because your brain will start releasing dopamine and reducing cortisol.
There are loads of studies that show the positive correlations between exercise and reduced stress, anxiety and positive changes to depression, but the takeaway is that this isn’t something that you should require academia to convince you of, this is the simple experiment that you can do yourself that can really start to make positive changes in your pandemic life.
And now the plug:
Of course we’re here for you if you need help with this. We would love to work with you on ways to sneak these things into your routine, or coming up with awesome fitness programs that will create balanced positive results as we work towards your goals. And if you have any questions about our patreon tiers and what each of them can do for you, reach out. We’d love to chat. (Seriously, human contact in any form is exciting right now, am i right?)
Now I’m going to get up and do some shoulder circles, glute bridges and lying windshield wipers because I’ve been sitting here typing this for entirely too long.