I often think very intentionally about how to motivate people to stay active, and to push themselves with their fitness ultimately driving that pillar of health. If you have come to my workshops, you will recognize that I like to use different methods of conviction over simple motivation. Helping you understand how valuable and important it is to exercise, and how significant the negative impact is if you don’t.
Most commonly, I find that discussing the importance of it, the deep review of what happens when you either exercise, or when you don’t, will drive people to try. Which is step one. If you aren’t even trying to exercise, then we have to overcome that hurdle. Really simply, your body was designed to be active, very active… if you don’t believe that, look at how well it flourishes under the regular stress of exercise… the level of energy that is attained, the physical potential to do more work. Look how resilient it becomes to weak bones, and how sleep patterns are more normalized.
Hormone function becomes balanced, and your ability to heal from injury increases… even if becoming injured slightly increases (depends on what you choose to do for activity). The reality is that there is opportunity that grows in your life, as you pursue activity. Where on the flipside, all of those things that I just mentioned, worsen.
But to truly stay motivated, not just interested, but intensely motivated… there has to be something in you that loves the end point. I had a patient who simply finds peace in running. Her back had stopped her from running for a number of years, so she had given up on peace. I mean really given up on peace. Through our care, she got back to running, peace returned, but what really clicked, was that she regained an intense motivation to maintain her ability to run because she fully understood the night and day difference between the life of peace, and the life of feeling defeated.
I am writing this from New York, where I just played in a University at Buffalo Alumni Hockey Game. I had given up hockey 12 years ago after a hockey puck took my eyesight in my left eye. Seems reasonable enough that I quite the sport. After that time, I competed in CrossFit events regularly, as well as Adventure Races. They both served the goal, of pulling me forward with intensity… keeping me motivated. Well, the idea of playing in an alumni game with guys I knew 25 years ago, was also highly motivating, so I got back to playing about 4 months ago.
It was so worth it.
If you have a life that is behind you, that you speak of with nostalgic envy… I recommend you go get part of it back. I have a feeling it will turn on an intense lion in you, one that commits to striving for health, to control your weight, and to improve your function. Whatever it is, I pray that you will allow it just a piece of your heart… but a piece big enough to pull you into a place of greater health.
Be well and be blessed! – Dr. E