We all know exercise is good for us and makes us feel good, yet few of us actually decide how we’d like to feel before we exercise. Most of us wait until we exercise, and then hope that we will feel good when we’ve finished. That’s kind of like saying, “I will go after my goals and then be happy when I get there!”
In professional sports today, physical fitness coaches will train their clientele to visualize and feel a successful outcome of their particular sport. This is because where the brain tells the body to go, more often than not, the body goes. No one imagines loosing the game before they play, and many times, the best and most exciting games go to the one with the strongest will.
So where is your ‘will’ before you exercise? Where is your vision, your feelings? If you’re like most of us, you’re more than likely on auto-pilot. You go out, do the best you can and hope to feel good later. Yet the most successful people with exercise will usually tell you three simple words when asked why they are so active; “I love it”. Or ‘I love being outside’, or ‘the morning air feels so good’, or ‘I love feeling good and hate feeling bad’. Certainly there are other reasons, but most people who stick with something do so because somehow they feel good about it.
Taking your feelings into consideration when it comes to exercise is rarely ever talked about, yet without deciding how we want to feel before we begin, we are at the mercy of the body, or our mood, or environment, good or bad, right or wrong. So what should we do? What is the best proactive approach to take?
Decide you want to feel good today. Decide when you go out and exercise you are going to feel the feelings you want to feel, whether that’s younger or stronger, or more energetic, or happy, etc., before you go out and exercise. Don’t take the chance that you’ll feel great, because you probably won’t.
How we feel is not as much something that happens to us, but through us. And if your body isn’t told how to feel by your brain, then you’re at the mercy of the body. I understand there are bad days, and there are real medical conditions and mental states that are not pleasant, but they aren’t made any better not deciding to do and feel the best you can.
Here’s a recipe from the Wizard:
1. Decide the feelings you want to feel before you go and exercise. (Write them down so you can see them later.)
2. Dare to feel them in your body physically before you begin. (Close your eyes and take a few minutes to feel those feelings. Some of us feel better by visualizing performing successfully- whatever works for you!)
3. Then go and exercise and feel those feelings while exercising. (And yes, sometimes this will not seem to help at all, but it really does in the long run!)
If we were to listen to a person’s thoughts as they went through this process, we might hear something like this: “I am going to go and exercise now… I want to feel good, energetic, younger and stronger… I am feeling and or seeing these things… I am going to feel this way when I exercise… Okay, I am ready to go!”
Interesting enough, the best athletes in the world would carry on a very similar conversation before they ran their race: “I am going to go and compete now. I want to feel good, energetic, stronger and win… I am feeling and seeing these things… I am going to feel this way when I run my race… Okay, I am ready to go!”
My dear friends, as we have all learned in life, deciding how you want to feel first, and then working on our day gives us the richest life possible, while waiting to feel good is a morass of empty years and wasted time. This is no different in exercise. Decide how you want to feel before you exercise, then go out and courageously feeling that way, no matter what you can or can’t do. Because by golly Olli, if we are going to be here, we may as well make it fun!
Make it so! ~Because you’re stronger than you think, and you can do more than you know!~
John Paul Ouvrier, known as The Wizard of Youth, is a fitness trainer who specializes in working with older adults. Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before beginning this or any exercise program or advice. The contents of this article do not constitute medical advice. Contact him at John@wizardofyouth.com, and bring him in to entertain your audiences! http://wizardofyouth.com and http://fitness4charity.org