For some, it’s the cold weather that throws off their exercise routines. For others, it’s the holiday break. Around this time of year, it’s common to lose some momentum and motivation— and that’s okay. Everyone deserves a break.
Take this time to think about your approach to exercise and goal-setting. What type of exercise makes you feel good in both mind and body? How will you prioritize that type of movement in 2022?
Here are some tips to help you discover a more positive and meaningful workout experience, which we hope in turn will motivate and energize you to keep moving and exercising the way you want to.
1. What type of movement do you need right now?
Instead of pushing yourself to crush the latest spin challenge or HIIT workout when you don’t feel like it, tune into your body and ask yourself what type of movement would make you feel recharged and rejuvenated today.
On days when you feel sluggish and demotivated, this quick reflection can help you choose a workout that you actually want to do and may make the difference between sitting on the couch and actually showing up on the mat.
Any type of movement is better than nothing. If you can remember how energized it will make you feel afterwards, you’ll be more motivated to start.
Choose the workout that’s right for you, whether it’s for balance and body control, an exercise break from your desk, pelvic floor strengthening, or an energizing barre workout — don’t feel guilty if it’s slower and more restorative than your usual sweat session.
2. Fitness goals framed around self-care, wellbeing and feeling good
At this time of year, many people start thinking about goal-setting. When it comes to movement and fitness goals, instead of focusing on a number on the scale, how many reps you can do or pounds you can lift, consider developing movement habits and goals based on how you want to feel afterwards. You may find this approach more motivating too.
For example, do you want your workout to leave you feeling more focused and energized? Less stressed? More mobile and less stiff? Like you pushed yourself?
Consider adding these mindful movement habits into your day:
- Set a goal to go for a walk three times a week
- Set a reminder to stretch beside your desk for 10 minutes at 3 p.m.
- Try a new workout, enroll in a new fitness class, mix up your virtual and in-person training to meet people and have fun
3. Integrating mindfulness into your daily life and workout routine
Becoming more mindful doesn’t have to be a Herculean task. Integrating mindfulness into your everyday life is as simple as having a few easy breathing techniques and question prompts at the ready. That way, when you’re standing in line, waiting on hold, in traffic or getting settled on your mat, you can ground and calm yourself by becoming more aware of your surroundings, thoughts and feelings.
Simple breathing and mindfulness strategies:
- Box breath: Inhale for four seconds, hold with full lungs for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, hold with empty lungs for four seconds, repeat 3+ times
- Ocean breath: Inhale through your nose for five counts, place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth and exhale through your nose for seven counts making a rhythmic ocean sound in the back of your throat
- Mindfulness of the five senses: Take a moment to notice one thing you can see, one thing you can hear, one thing you can taste, one thing you can smell, one thing you can feel to bring yourself into the present moment
- Mindful sweat session: During your next workout, tap into what your body is feeling as you move through the exercises, the quality of your breathing, and why you decided to show up
“I used to see mindfulness as something very individual and personal, but in this age where Covid brings new order, my interpretation of mindfulness has to be broader than it used to be,” Anita says.
“Not only do I need to be mindful of my inner self and physical health, from eating right and doing exercise, I also need to be mindful of the signals that the environment is sending us. I try to find the balance between staying focused on the most imminent challenges and not being overwhelmed by them.”