Do you hate exercising? Although you understand that’s it’s important for your health, you just can’t get yourself motivated to run, go to the gym, or do much of the stuff we recommended in this blog. The threat of health problems down the road is not enough to get you moving. Well, you are not alone!
Maybe you need to stop thinking of exercising and start thinking about doing what you enjoy.
In her new book, “No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness,” Michelle Segar, Ph.D. writes about how to discover your motivations for healthy living from the “inside out”. Dr. Segar makes the point that “doing what you enjoy is a better motivator for sustained physical activity than exercising because you think you should exercise.” (p.15)
Dr. Segar also emphasizes that the key to health is movement and that everything one does counts as exercise. She makes the point that research on physical activity has been misunderstood, and as a result created a belief that a minimum amount of exercise is needed to see health benefits (i.e. 10 minutes). In the 1996 and 2007 reports of the US Surgeon General on Physical Activity and Health, the guidelines for physical activity “encouraged people to engage in thirty minutes of moderate-intensity activity five days per week or ten minutes of vigorous-intensity activity three days per week, which could be divided up, providing that each instance consisted of at least ten minutes.” (p. 75). Interestingly, when Dr. Segar looked into the research behind the prescribed 10-minute rule, she found that it based on the fact that researchers at the time did not have scientific measurement tools that would allow them to accurately assess exercise of less than 8 minutes, and not because the evidence shows that the minimum number of minutes required is ten.
Changing Your Life…
The heart of the book is about behavior change. Using self-determination theory as the basis for her approach, Dr. Segar developed a program that coaches people to re-think exercise, and re-build their approach to healthy living so that it fits into and adapts to their busy lives.
In a scientifically-based, systematic approach called M.A.P.S., she asks people to:
- Examine the Meaning they attribute to exercise and why they exercise.
- Raise their Awareness of “what’s been keeping (you) them from staying motivated,” (p.11) and what makes them feel great, energized and excited to sustain activity as a lifestyle.
- Give themselves Permission to prioritize healthy living and “self-care”.
- Develop Strategies that will help them start and sustain physical activity and healthy living as a lifelong experience.
The book is written as a how-to and includes several worksheets/questions to get the reader experiencing the program while reading the book. It is also filled with many inspiring stories from clients who have struggled with integrating exercise into their lives as a life-long commitment.
Wellness Ideas for Everyday Living…
In many of our past posts, we have also urged you to move. Remember that every bit of activity you do counts towards enhancing your health and keeping you fit. This activity can be every day actions like climbing the stairs in your house, walking to the grocery store, gardening, or doing housework. Beyond this, we encourage you to find your true love for movement, pursue it with passion, and reap the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits it will continue to provide.
Segar, Michelle, “No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness,” First Edition, AMACOM, USA: NY 2015.