You want to get more from your exercise routine? Or may be you don’t have an exercise routine but you want to get started? I am here to tell you that your attitude matters. Not only for how you stay motivated but also how you measure your progress and what work outs you choose. Our attitude to exercise is most often shaped by our attitude to our own bodies.
How is your attitude towards your own body going? Have you thought about it lately? Do you catch yourself looking at other peoples bodies and just wishing you had theirs? Do you experience frustration from not being able to do things that you love? A while back I had terrible plantar fasciitis (inflammation in muscles in the feet). This stopped me from walking on the beach everyday. I loved walking on the beach but when my feet were tight it was agony. And so I stopped.
It was around this time I realised that I didn’t really care about the shape of my bum that much, but I really wanted to walk on the beach without pain. My motivation for exercise shifted from wanting to look a certain way to wanting to do a certain thing (without pain). This shifted my attitude to exercise, I was more willing to go more slowly and work with my body to achieve the outcome rather than override and push my body to achieve a certain shape.
In our society most of us carry some body image issues. We are bombarded by images of an ideal body shape achieved by certain work outs that are most relevant to younger bodies. Our body as an object is pushed hard, particularly at girls, from an early age. We learn to focus on what our bodies look like to others, not what they can do for us. This view of our bodies then influences how we sense our own bodies and how we interpret what we feel.
The exercise industry has not sought to help women with body image issues. In general the exercise industry has exploited the view of women’s bodies as objects and continues to perpetuate the promise of buff arms, a firm butt and chiseled thighs as the only goals worthy of pursuing when it comes to exercise.
Think about function over form:
If you are heading into exercise with the view that you want to change your whole body, you basically want a knew one, this is a set up for a pattern that isn’t kind and may make a sustainable path to regular exercise difficult. If you head into exercise appreciating what your body can do now, with a clear idea of what you want your body to be able to do, you have a better chance of reaching these goals.
When setting your exercise goals think about function over form. Think about activities you would like to do with more ease. It may be you would like to get up off the floor more easily or you might like to run a half marathon. These specific goals give you and your movement teacher or trainer something to measure your progress. This gives real information to your teacher or trainer about where to focus and what work outs to develop for you.
Working with a teacher or trainer who helps you set clear, practical goals for your what your body can achieve can be a tremendous help. These goals can then become a way of monitoring your progress.
Achieve your goals
Get more from your exercise routine by checking your motivation and your attitude. Set goals that have real outcomes for your everyday life rather than ideal body shape. Notice as you start to achieve those outcomes in your everyday life, this is you achieving your goals and it is the best motivation for an active life there is.
I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online. To receive regular body wisdom sign up below.