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Finding your ‘why’ in fitness

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Why do you exercise?

The whole “why” movement (thanks Simon Sinek) has taken off in this era of instant gratification. Exercise is something we need to work for: we can’t press a button and get a strong core; we can’t swipe right and feel increased flexibility; we can’t send a text and improve our cardiovascular system. When it comes to gaining fitness benefits, you need to work for it – which is why we must find our own reasons for why we want to exercise.

Before we dive deep into finding your ‘why’, let’s look at how much we need to be moving.

How much exercise should we be doing?

 Here’s what Australia’s Physical Activity & Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Adults (18-64 years) says:

  • Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount. Remember my last article, “the secret formula for motivation”? – start with a small amount of exercise, then build from there.
  • Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
  • Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
  • Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week. Remember, this doesn’t mean you need to join a gym. Strengthening exercises can be body weight exercises, small dumbells, or thera bands (all very accessible to anyone who is time poor).

It’s important to note that these guidelines have been developed for the regular ‘Joe Blow’. If you have a specific condition or different objective or goal, then the guidelines may not be appropriate for you. Always consult an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Physiotherapist or Personal Trainer.

So now you know what you need to do, but how do you actually make it happen, week in, week out, month after month, year upon year?  This is where your ‘why’ comes into things.

How to find your ‘why’

Do you know why you exercise?

Sure, it can help you look better, lose weight, strengthen your bones and lungs, keep your arteries and veins clear, lower your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Regular exercise helps prevent or manage health problems such as stroke, metabolic syndrome, depression, cancer, arthritis – the list goes on.

The question is: is this enough to tap into your deep down desire to be bound to your program? Are these facts inspiring and purposeful enough for you?

Maybe, or maybe not.

This is the art of finding your individual ‘why’ – your purpose, the thing that inspires you to sweat it up consistently.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Write down your exercise plan, monitor it, adapt it and stick it on your fridge.
  • Have a professional look over it, and keep you accountable.
  • Set an achievable short-term goal.
  • Set a realistic achievable crazy fun long term goal. Marathon in Vegas, anyone?
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Just chip away, week in, week out.

As my life coaching buddy says: “When life gets hard, remind yourself of your why”. It’s a technique I use regularly – especially when my kids get up in the middle of the night, and I have a morning exercise session planned.  Or when I work a long day and all I want to do is eat pizza on the couch, however I’ve got my power yoga class organised for 6.30pm.  Or even when it’s a 38 degrees day outside (and I’ve been working at the Hydrotherapy pool for 3 hours in the heat), and I’ve got a running session planned for 5pm.  Every time I’m tempted to pass on exercise, I go back to my “why”.

I successfully get the session done, and it’s always the best part of my day!

I’d love to know: what is your “why”

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