Hint: It starts with your breath
All too often we just go to the gym or go into our workouts as if it really is a chore and when you think of something as a chore all you’re thinking in your head space is “oh how do I get through this” and you miss out on all the good things that exercise can really bring to you on an emotional and a spiritual level.
In meditation and mindfulness, we often are told or taught to breathe through the experience and take deep breaths and to regroup our thoughts and to bring our mind over to the activity that we are doing in that moment.
The same thing goes with exercise with lifting weights. Correct breathing for strength training is to exhale with the effort. Think about the two Es.
Example if you’re doing a push-up, you’re pushing yourself up you’re blowing yourself up at the same time that you’re pushing yourself up. The opportunity to really use all of your breath throughout the entire movement can lead to relaxing mentally (and emotionally) when you’re working out. This leads to overall enhanced wellbeing gains achieved, as exercise goes beyond the physical. But hey, you knew that – right?
1- Relaxing through the movement
I often think of weight training as a great opportunity to relax my muscles are working but because I’m breathing so consciously, continually rep upon set upon rep again and another rep and another set. We go through the motions so continually and this often leads to an overall relaxing experience – you’re taking that time to exhale! Exhalation is really the root of reconnecting with our breath and reconnecting with our mindfulness.
So today when you go into your workouts, I don’t want you to think of it like a chore.
Embrace the opportunity be present. When you start to not enjoy it, don’t push yourself beyond what you’re actually enjoying.
Instead, challenge yourself to find a way to enjoy the moment just for one minute more, or five minutes more.. each and every time that you do it.
2- Life is like a box of chocolatesForest Gump would probably agree. Exercise is similar to say eating potato chips. The first part of eating potato chips – the first 10 chips – taste great. But after a while after 10, 12, 15 chips… they’re not really that enjoyable anymore.
And you just go into a place where you just mindlessly eat and you don’t really know why you continuing to eat but you’re just doing it anyways. You don’t have a good memory of the experience and you feel disempowered at the end of eating the chips.
If you think of exercise in the same way, you find your sweet spot.
3 – One good thing leads to another
ACTION STEP: Track how long it takes until you can find that end point of enjoyment, while pushing yourself to find the enjoyment a little more each time. This is what’s going to help you to commit to exercise in the long term.
Aim to enjoy ten minutes and just be aware of whether you are enjoying it, in that moment. If not, reconnect with your breath, reconnect with your movement. Try to make the mind and body connection and if you still aren’t finding the joy (and the movements) stop and go back another time.
It might not happen today, it might not happen tomorrow. Yet consistency and patience really does pay off. Continue to challenge your perception about exercise, and before you know it, you’ll wind up being one of those ‘I love exercise!’ folks at the gym.
See you on the gram!