How to get motivated to exercise

How do YOU get motivated to exercise? It’s cold, blustery and misty outside today. I spent most of summer yearning for the cool Arctic breeze to greet me so I can go walking or riding any time of the day without feeling like I’m going to pass out from the heat. After our long, hot, drought-ridden summer, winter has finally arrived. And here I am, huddled in my flannelette pyjamas, fluffy dressing gown and hand-knitted knee rug dreading the thought of going outside.

It’s a tricky head space to be in – knowing that I advocate for an outdoor adventurous lifestyle, and yet here I am, cocooned in my layers, inside my house, and trying desperately to find another thing to delay me before I go outside.

Being very conscious that my actions and values are simply not in alignment, I’ve given myself a stern talking to this week. Motivation is a pretty fickle thing. You can never rely on it. It’s a feeling that comes and goes and is affected by many different things – both positively and negatively. Sitting around waiting for motivation to arrive is fruitless. You need to take ACTION, and motivation will follow in its own good time.

motivation is fickle

I figured I’m probably not the only one who’s struggling at the moment (tell me that is so!!), so I’ve put together a list of tried and true strategies to get us exercising, no matter the weather, and no matter our motivation levels!

18 ways to get motivated to exercise

  1. Be accountable! To someone else, like a friend that you’ve agreed to meet for a walk. Or simply write your planned exercise activity in your diary and let others know ahead of time about your commitment.
  2. Something is better than nothing! Don’t get caught in the all-or-nothing type of thinking. If you’re running short on time, do what you can – 10 minutes is better than nothing.
  3. Make exercise part of your daily routine so there is little room for debate about what you’re going to do and when.
  4. Choose your reward! External rewards work well for some people – think of stickers for your exercise chart, or buying that new piece of gear when you’ve kept to your commitment. Or do you prefer to acknowledge that you feel great on the inside, knowing you’ve chosen well despite it being difficult, or noticing that you feel better?
  5. Celebrate your achievements! Be joyful for the hard work you’ve put in. But be careful you don’t self-sabotage your efforts by spending the rest of the day on the sofa or munching on a box of doughnuts.
  6. Change it up! Any activity that you repeat over and again can lose its gloss. Change your activity, route, place or even the time of day you’ve been exercising.
  7. Change how you see yourself! When you identify with a “healthy me, happy me” mentality, you’ll focus on healthy choices. Conversely if you see yourself as lazy and unfit, your actions are likely to reinforce that attitude.
  8. Break it down! If an hour of exercise seems like an eternity, then you’re going to dread it again tomorrow. Break it down into time portions, or ‘sets’. When I swim laps, I work on 10 minute sets each of kick board, freestyle, backstroke and so on. You can break your walk or ride up into sets too, aiming for a certain number of minutes, steps, mileage or landmarks in each set.
  9. Set goals! Register for an event and use it to keep you on track with your ‘training’ exercise. Or set a new goal each week, for example to walk 25 kilometres or to go to 3 classes by the end of the week.
  10. Do what works for YOU! Get a routine going that works FOR YOU. It’s your life. Your family. Your work situation. Your community. Whatever exercise routine you choose, make it do-able for you.
  11. Focus on something enjoyable! It could be the way the grass is blowing in the breeze, the smell of the wattles flowering, how awesome your new t-shirt feels, the increasing strength in your legs as you pound the pavement.
  12. Sign up! Check out what programs, challenges and memberships are available in your area or online.
  13. Pay your way! Does financial investment motivate you? Some people feel an extra commitment to get out the door after purchasing a membership, training program, new shoes or other equipment.
  14. Get expert support! Exercise physiologists and personal trainers can customise exercises and training plans that gradually build up as you do.
  15. Do what you love to do! If dancing around the lounge room to loud music is your thing, then do it! If digging holes in the paddock to put new fence posts in is your thing, then do it! If running marathons is your thing, then do it! You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.
  16. Be realistic! Know what is do-able for you and set your expectations and goals accordingly to boost your confidence, sense of achievement, and motivation.
  17. Do it for yourself! You’ll feel better, you know you will!
  18. Do it for those around you! Exercise and nature has incredible benefits for the way our brains work, the way we feel, and the behavioural choices we make. Generally, we’re nicer people to be around when we’ve looked after ourselves.

You owe it to yourself as well as others!

And if that’s not enough reason to motivate me to get outside on a blustery day, then I remind myself that I’m accountable to the community of women around me. The women who get involved with my projects, counselling and mentoring programs. I constantly encourage these women to get outside and get active, yet I also know how challenging it can be at times. I owe it to my family, friends and the community of women I work with to shut up, show up and practise what I preach.

Women exercising outdoors

In the end, a little bit of discomfort to get going will reap amazing benefits for the rest of the day. It doesn’t sound that hard, but, man oh man, that gusty wind sure is blowing away some of my motivation!

How will you manage your motivation today?

Let me know:

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to motivation to exercise?

And what strategies work for you?

Daisy Spoke

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Kathryn Walton shares information and reflections in ‘Daisy Spoke’ that inform, inspire and empower women to a healthy and active lifestyle.

How do you spring clean your mind?

Daisy Spoke Banner

Spring cleaning can happen at any time of the year

It’s spring at the moment in Australia where I’m sitting at my computer writing this blog post. As I reflect on the very warm day we’ve had, and the cool breeze wafting in through the window, thoughts of spring cleaning come to mind. But, why wait for spring??? Spring cleaning can happen at any time of the year!

Let go of what is no longer needed

Let go, spring cleaningWhat a great feeling it is to clean out the house, office or car; throw away, recycle or give away the excess that has accumulated over the past months, year, or more. Spring cleaning offers us a sense of lightness, organisation and order. It gives us renewed energy, like a gentle breeze after a hot day. We’ve swept out the cobwebs and feel fresh and clean again.

Our minds can do with a spring clean too

It’s not just our houses, offices and cars that need regular spring cleaning. Our minds need de-cluttering too, and in my opinion we can all benefit from a little de-cluttering every day. When we organise our thoughts and simplify our lives, our lives run smoother.

You can choose how to de-clutter your mind

Spring clean your mind on MTBSpring cleaning our houses is one thing, but how on earth do we go about de-cluttering our minds? One of the best ways to do this is by going for a walk, especially in a green zone. But you might prefer to spend some quiet time in the garden, listen to music, or do some painting. Perhaps you prefer more energetic methods of de-cluttering your mind like running, boxing, swimming or mountain bike riding (a personal favourite!).

Consistency and regularity are key!

Whatever your choice, remember to be consistent and regular with your actions so that things don’t get on top of you. Caring for your mind is just like housework and yard work. When you take regular small steps to clean up and clear out, life seems a whole lot less messy and there is space and energy for the things you value most.

Remember …. no matter the season, no matter the weather, you don’t need to wait till spring. Jump into spring cleaning today!

What works for you?

How do you de-clutter your mind and organise your thoughts?

 

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Daisy Spoke aka Kathryn Walton logoKathryn Walton shares information and reflections in Daisy Spoke that connect, inspire and self-empower women to make healthy choices for themselves. She integrates her love of physical exercise, family, nature, gardening and creative arts with her professional background in mental health social work to facilitate change with individuals, groups and communities of women who are committed to living life to the full.

Ode to a Headwind

Ode to a Headwind

HEADWIND, how you frustrate me. You visit without warning in all seasons.

You turn a fun time into suffering. You change direction without warning. Swirling, confusing.

In SUMMER, you bring the hot dry desert to greet me as I walk out the door to ride.

Thirst and weariness always by my side. Dust and dirt worn with pride.

In WINTER, you sneakily invite the Antarctic spirits along for the ride.

Icicles and frostbite ripping at me, destroying my soul. In winter you take a toll.

In SPRING, you howl and whistle all around me, invading every space, disturbing every peace.

Your gale force beckons fears and nightmares. Felling trees. You have no cares.

In AUTUMN, the chill is in your breath. Pushing me. Compelling me. Exerting force.

You face me on the open hill. A reminder that change is inevitable.

HEADWIND – you are a force. Meet me face to face or back and forth.

Strength training is all I need. Ensuring power is matched with speed.

But, OH HEADWIND, honoured be your cause. The summer flies are no match for thee.

Gladly I face you as I ride east. Goddam flies! Pesky beasts!

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Kathryn Walton shares information and reflections in Daisy Spoke that connect, inspire and self-empower women to make healthy choices for themselves.

On Your Bikes: Our First Women and Girls MTB Ride

Women in sport is a vital part of the success and growth of any club, and so last Sunday we invited women and girls along for a ‘women-only’ ride at Passchendaele State Forest. We had nine women along for the ride and I can safely say that every one of them was very brave for simply turning up to the fresh and frosty start at only 7 degrees Celsius! This was simply the beginning of our inspiring adventure into the forest.

We were heralded by shrieks of awesomeness as some of the women ventured onto single track for the first time; laughs of newly formed friendships as we warmed up and peeled off the layers; and words of encouragement and advice as the newbies mixed it with the more experienced riders in the bunch. We climbed the hilly and rocky terrain of the forest, notching up the miles and the skill level, and enjoyed the relative ease of the gentle downhill sections. We marvelled at the winter weather which provided perfect conditions for the ride despite the chilly start! The bright blue sky, the cheeky breeze, the green forest, the red toadstools, the black cockatoos, the lively kangaroos and the stunning view from “the little big rock” were all there to show off what an amazing world we share (and how far we’d ridden throughout the morning!)

There were a couple of ‘offs’ and a few sore butts by the end of the ride, but so many treasured moments of fun, laughter and togetherness. Bring on the next ride, I say!

The recently formed Southern Downs Mountain Biking Club is gathering momentum. Membership is expanding and the community is supporting its efforts to provide safe and fun riding opportunities in the local area. With plans for MTB trails to be built right in the heart of Stanthorpe on Mt Marlay, club members have been regularly gathering for social rides further afield.

So stay tuned….. We’re planning lots more rides and activities for everyone – beginners, families, and all abilities. We’ll be exploring various locations across the Darling Downs and everyone is invited to join us.

If you would like more information, check out Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/520911538119350/

….. or contact me – your women’s ride co-ordinator 🙂

 

 

A Cup of Tea in the Sun

YellowDaisies

Humans tend to fall unconsciously into habits that support the established routine. So it happens that when life is busy, and the weather outside encourages us to stay indoors, we tend to keep our ourselves in hibernation focusing on our ever-expanding list of things we have to do. With many consecutive days of cloudy, windy, bleak wintery weather keeping many people indoors, it was the talk of the town when the sun came out to shine highlighting the intensity of the bright blue sky.

GumTreeBlueSky

One of my colleagues remarked that it’s such a pity she always has such a long list of things to do so that whenever the sun comes out to shine, she never has the time to simply sit in the sun and have a cup of tea. I suspect the cup of tea means more to my colleague than ‘just a hot drink’. The context of sitting in the sun on a cold winter’s day brings a deeper and richer meaning to the cup of tea.

CupOfTeaKnittedDoll

I wonder what a cup of tea in the sun might mean to you? Maybe it means relaxation and recharge time; a few minutes to give yourself permission to savour the present moment; a ritual of self-care; honouring the sensory delights of a cup of tea or the fresh sunny weather; an escape from the hectic routine of family care; or maybe something else?

Whatever meaning my colleague makes from enjoying a cup of tea in the sun, it is clear it holds a significant degree of importance, yet it stays at the bottom of the list of things to do even when the weather makes it possible.

If drinking a cup of tea in the sun becomes your priority, how might your day be different? How might you be different? By embracing the ritual which recharges and revives our body and mind, we show equal compassion to ourselves as we do to those around us ….. and the perpetual list of jobs that begs our attention! We value ourselves and we value the energy we need to achieve our goals for the day.

SunBenchSeat

Investing a few minutes of time and mental energy into self-care rituals is not a selfish thing to undertake. The benefits reach far beyond ‘self’ having plenty of pay-offs for those around us as well.

In keeping with the philosophy of the proverb “Make hay while the sun shines” I invite you, firstly, to consider how you can make the most of opportunities to engage in self-care rituals that re-energise, revive and nurture your mind and body; and secondly, to embrace and value those opportunities and the rituals themselves.

12072738_10153350994019635_6961178460792652167_n